My current work in progress:

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


Archives for May 2005

Block This

There have been a couple of questions in the comments about how to block knitted lace.

I did a Google search and came up with a few resources:

Blocking lace – from Earthheart Designs

Blocking Knitted Items – from the windy City Knitting Guild

Blocking Tips – from Heartstrings Fiber Arts

These are just a few of the many resources available online. And I will, of course, be documenting the blocking process as I do it.

But not too soon. I’ve made extremely little progress on my lace, as life is getting in the way.

Inishmore Raffle

The Inishmore Raffle will be held tomorrow, and the winners announced tomorrow evening. I’ll leave the paypal link up in the sidebar until midday tomorrow (Wednesday) in case anyone wants to make a last minute donation and be included in the raffle. And many thanks to those of you who have done so in the past couple of days!

Like I said, life is kicking me in the butt right now, so that’s all from me tonight. Over and out.


It’s a Good Thing

What’s a good thing? Knitting lace. But it makes for crappy “in progress” photos.


See what I mean? It looks shriveled and forlorn while you knit it, and does not bloom into beauty until you block it. Here’s a photo from the pattern:


Quite a difference, eh?

The photo, by the way, is from the Shawls and Scarves : The Best of Knitter’s Magazine book, which as some of you pointed out, also has the pattern for this shawl. If you’re into knitted lace, this is a nice book to have.

Here are a couple of close-ups of my shawl in progress. One taken of the body of the shawl:


And one of the edging:


I’ve a long way to go. I’m less than half done with this. It is knit in two pieces, which are grafted together at the center. Then, my favorite part: the blocking!

By the way, none of the photos accurately show the color. It’s not as blue as the first photo, nor as grey as the close-ups.


I did a little spinning today, as a break from the lace.


This is the same stuff I mentioned a little while back — wool/mohair roving from Tintagel Farm, purchased at MDS&W.

Inishmore Update

If you read the comments for yesterday’s entry, you saw that L-B finished her Inishmore, in under two weeks! Well done, L-B!

L-B is sending a prize to Sherry H., who came closest in guessing her finish date and time — within one hour, in fact! Sherry will be receiving 1960 yards of Joslyn’s Fiber Farm hand-dyed alpaca/wool lace yarn—enough for a shetland lace shawl.

We will be drawing the numbers for the raffle prizes on June 1, and I’ll announce the winners of those prizes that evening, or the next day. As you can see by the total donated in the sidebar, you all have been extremely generous, and once I add my donation, we’ll be sending well over $3000 to the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

We should have a photo of L-B’s finished Inishmore later in the week.


The Proof Is In the Pictures

Inishmore looks good on everyone. Witness:





4-Ply Katie.






Look! Look! Greta made a road trip to Knit Happens today. And look who she brought with her!


This is Carson, who is so adorable it hurts. Lucy had her own opinion when I came home smelling suspiciously of poodle.


Have I been knitting? Yes, I have. I’ve gotten a fair chunk of the Deborah Newton shawl done.


Yeah, lace is not so inspiring to look at until it is blocked. But I am enjoying the knit. Feeling the love!

I hope y’all are having a great weekend. I must get back to my knitting now . . .

Not Feeling the Love

I’ve not suffered with such project angst in ages.

I swatched for the Alice Korach lace shawl with every fingering and laceweight yarn in my stash last night and this morning and I don’t like any of them for this pattern.

The alpaca I have is actually heavier than fingering weight and I don’t like how it looks. The cream-colored wool I have has too much fuzz and displeases me. I have some brown fingering weight wool that I actually like knitted in the pattern, but it snaps very, very easily, so I fear for its life while blocking the shawl.(Incidentally, thanks to everyone who offered blocking space!) I have some shetland wool that is cream with a tinge of grey, but I think I’m a couple hundred yards short of what I need. I am so not making this and finding out I don’t have enough yarn near the end. And I don’t like how it looks anyhow. (Stamps foot like a petulant child.)

And so on. I finally gave up on the last yarn I tried on the train this morning.

Eve pointed out in the comments that there were errors in the pattern. So perhaps this is a pattern best left unknit for now.

This freaks me out. I hate being projectless, so I usually plan ahead better than this. What was I thinking? I briefly whined about it this morning to a sympathetic non-knitter at work who pointed out “job stress is interfering with your knitting.”


But . . .

While digging through my lace patterns the other day, something I’ve been wanting to make for ages resurfaced — a shawl designed by Deborah Newton that appeared in issue 9 (1987) of Knitters magazine. It’s knit from fingering weight yarn and has what look like traditional shetland patterns, but is an unusual shape — sort of a long oval.

I’ve got a bunch of Rowan Yorkshire Tweed 4-ply in a pretty lavender. I decided to try it for this shawl. Knit a little bit of the edging tonight.


Yeah, baby. Now I’m feeling the love.

The photo is slightly washed out, by the way. This is shade #268 — “Enchant.”

Kristen asked what my favorite needles for lace knitting are. I agree with her that the Addi Turbos are a bit too blunt. I like the Addi Naturas better — the tip is a bit sharper. However, most of my lace knitting has been done on Addi Turbos — in the days before I “discovered” wooden needles.

This little sucker was knitted on wicked tiny steel dpns, which were great for lace knitting, but dangerous. Yikes! I punched many holes in my poor fingers while knitting that, but managed not to drip blood on the pristine white lace.

That was pretty much the first lace project I ever knitted. I am insane, no?

Wait, I think I’ve already established the depths of my insanty.

Proof That L-B is a Good Sport!

I got a package in the mail today from L-B. Inside were treats for the little princess, who is now reclining happily after sampling them.


And this!


A little fisherman figurine! His aran sweater even has a center diamond panel.

But that’s not all. L-B sent me a badge of honor:


A genuine U.K. Girl Guides knitting badge. I am verklempt!


Yup, I’m in the throes of Post Project Depression.

Do you ever get that feeling? You’ve been knocking yourself out to finish a big knit and then once you are done, depression hits you? You sort of wander around, at a loss, not sure what to knit next.

This usually doesn’t happen to me, as I’m usually thinking about my next big project while I am knitting my current one. But this time I had nothing planned. So when Inishmore came off the needles, P.P.D. set in.

Please note that this happens to me all the time in Real Life at work. I finish killing myself on a huge, seemingly-insurmountable project and when the project is completed, I am at a loss. Wondering what to do with all the time that has been freed up. Of course, that feeling only lasts for about half an hour until the next emergency-du-jour surfaces.

Please also note that when the current work situation that has me fearing for my health and sanity comes to an end, I have no plans for depression. I plan to take a victory lap around the building. Considering the size of the federal building where I work, this is no small feat. I’d best take snacks with me.

But I digress.

I picked up my wool/mohair blend that I bought at MDS&W and cast on for a lace project. But after one repeat, I realized that it just wasn’t happening for me, so this morning I cast it aside and grabbed the fisherman’s rib scarf that I had just barely cast on the day before the Inishmore Challenge. I knit that on the train this morning and marveled at how long it takes to make any progress on fisherman’s rib.


But the colors are sure pretty! This is handspun handpainted Cormo, also bought at MDS&W. It’s incredibly soft. It’s about aran weight and I’m knitting it on U.S. size 10 (6mm) needles. I don’t usually knit on straights, but those are Lantern Moon ebonies and I love ’em!

But . . . I feel like knitting lace. This morning I dug out the pattern for Alice Korach’s Shetland Lace Shawl. This shawl pattern was featured in Threads magazine in 1987, and was made available as a single-pattern pamphlet. I believe it is now out of print, but you can still purchase the pattern from Schoolhouse Press. I’ve had the pamphlet for ages, but never made the shawl. It’s a square shawl that blocks to a 54 – 66″ square. Possibly that’s why I’ve never made it — it’s a bit smaller than I like.

It calls for approximately 1800 yards of laceweight wool knitted on size 0 or 1 needles. I think I’ll try it in fingering weight instead, on size 3 needles. That will give me a very large shawl, I’m thinking. (Side note: does anyone have a large open area of carpeted floor space where I can block it??!!)

I know I have enough cream-colored fingering weight wool for this. I also have a pile of cream-colored fingering weight alpaca. I’ll need to check and see if it’s enough for this shawl.

Some Notes on Inishmore

First off, thank you so much for all your nice comments!

Here are some notes on Inishmore, culled from questions in the comments.

I had four (50 gram?) skeins of yarn (plus a partial skein — mebbe half) left over when I finished Inishmore. But I probably ordered enough for a larger size to make sure I would have enough yarn. As I mentioned previously somewhere in the blog, the yarn was ordered from Virtual Yarns as a yarn pack to knit the sweater. I ordered my yarn probably 18 months ago, so I don’t remember what size I ordered. But it seems very likely that I ordered for a larger size, figuring that I wasn’t going to knit it for a while, and I wanted to make darn sure I would have enough in the dye lot when I got around to knitting it. I believe L-B ordered the appropriate size, so she can tell us when she finishes how much yarn she has left.

I’ve got enough left over to make a nice big scarf.

Only once have I ever come close to running short on yarn on an Alice Starmore sweater — I believe it was on the Oregon sweater? I was cutting it close on one of the lesser-used colors, and a kind knitter (Veronique in Switzerland, if I am remembering correctly) helped me out by sending me her leftovers in that color. On the whole, I’d say the yardage estimates for Starmore sweaters are very accurate. Of course, everyone’s mileage varies.

Another question was what’s my record for the quickest Aran knit? I knitted an Aran from the Bernat Book of Irish Knits (published circa 1967, you can still find copies on eBay now and then) in 4 or 5 days. This sweater, to be exact.


This was when I was in my early 20s and thought nothing of staying up all night to complete a sweater. I remember that I did knit the back in one all-nighter because the pattern was so entrancing. And this was knitting from written-out instructions, not charts. Yikes!

My previous record for Inishmore was three weeks — that was without trying to knit it quickly. This time I set myself a goal of two weeks.

Oh, and let me say here: I believe L-B could have beaten me had she not been having problems with hand pain. She is, indeed, a wicked fast knitter!

Greta asked:
What if newer knitters are so inspired by all of this gorgeousness and are unable to find the patterns or books that are rare as hen’s teeth?

Actually, you are in luck with the book that Inishmore is in. Fishermen’s Sweaters is still widely available. Here is the link to it on Amazon. It’s a beautiful book with many lovely designs. But Inishmore has always been my favorite from the book!

Inishmore accompanied me to late night at Knit Happens this evening. She had a wonderful time. She met Holly.


Kindly note that Holly is doing the Rachael.

She met Cindy.


(Poor Cindy has a sinus infection — send get-well wishes to her.)

She met Shelley.


In fact, she had such a gosh-darn good time that she asked if she could stay at the shop for the rest of the week. She’s hanging up in front of the wall o’ Rowan, so if you’re in the area, stop by and tell her “hey.”

I too had a good time at Late Night. I met Jon, who even though I’m quite sure he didn’t believe me when I told him he had to wear the goofy little hat while using the ballwinder, he wore it to oblige me AND even let me take a photo. Whatta guy!


And Phyl-Phyl was knitting with orange yarn.


What a shocker that was. Alert the media.

We Interrupt This Blog for an Important Announcement

I finally found out today where the phrase “fan mail from a flounder” comes from.

Yes, I was a deprived child. My tv watching was strictly regulated by the parental units. Do you hear that, Mom? I looked like a big doofus today in front of one of my staff when I couldn’t identify the source of “fan mail from a flounder.”

He did kindly point out that Rocky and Bullwinkle episodes are most likely now available on DVD.