My current work in progress:

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



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.



  1. Lynn S. says:

    Girl, you ROCK! I was going to comment this morning and ask if you would come rub elbows with the highway dept. and get them the finish the steeenkin’ project they’d been working on forever, but the B’s beat me to the punch and opened the new road today! And you only beat them by about 51 weeks (love you, guys, and love my new safely-constructed highway). Anyway, best cure for aching hands is to wrap those puppies around a frosty margarita. But you already knew that. Might work for PPD, too. And yes, my guest room has enough free carpet space to block the shawl. Come on down!

  2. a. Your co-worker is being obscure. Now if you hadn’t been able to recognize Boris and Natasha I would be concerned.
    b. Get better Cindy, I totally sympathize. Sniff.

  3. Awwww man, if the school only knew what I gave up in order to get a freaking degree. Can she stay until Saturday so I can see her?

  4. daniella says:

    hello there! first off let me please congratulate
    you on your heroic success and gorgeous aran sweater. Secondly: let me please humbly sugest a project to end your PPD. It’s Rosita by Jaeger.It’s
    lace, it’s difficult, and it’s oh so beautiful..
    congratulations and thank you always for such an
    amazing blog!

  5. Glad to see Inishmore getting out and about! After a work out like that a sweater deserves a good time.

    Our girls both have big attic bedrooms with lots of carpeted floor space. The chicas unfortunately aren’t here full time, so we use the space for our own nefarious purposes–including blocking of knitted shawls. Send it up when you’re ready.

  6. I heart Rocky and Bullwinkle. “Hey look — a message in a bottle!” “Fan mail from a flounder?” is the sort of thing that passes for humor in my family.

    Oh and Inishmore — niiiiiiccce.

  7. Did someone say alpaca? First you made me drool over the Cormo that looks so soft I can almost touch it on my computer screen, then you had to add to my problem by mentioning alpaca! Inishmore looks wonderful on everyone! I may have to cough up some $ and get that book. Although Alice Starmore’s The Celtic Collection has really caught my eye as well with those nifty key designs! So many patterns, so little money, so little time, such a slow knitter!

    And, as a side note, Phyllis would be my middle son’s absolutely favorite knitter, because guess what his favorite color is? Go Phyllis Orange! He is allowing me to make an alpaca (!) sweater for him out of a wonderful gold color (“fire”) boucle though, in a brave move slightly away from orange. He does want a slim red edge to the collar and cuffs, however, so I guess that does sort of blend back into, well, you know….

  8. I assume you have knit Ian the accompanying Bernat sweater? Maybe you could cure the PPD by trying to beat your time on that one.

  9. Congrats on finishing your sweater. I’m home from knitting group tonight with L-B … her Inishmore is BEAUTIFUL and she’s still going full steam ahead. Her hands were bothering her some, but she perseveres! I expect she’ll be done in the next couple of days.

    PS – she used my swift and ball winder and only wound ONE ball of yarn – rules are rules!

  10. Inishmore is truly beautiful… and was such a perfect size for me – wouldn’t it make such a lovely birthday or Christmas gift? Hehe! ๐Ÿ˜€ Who knows, I may just get the book and make one for myself. Maybe. Or maybe I’ll just lust after yours.

  11. I know exactly what you mean by PPD. Isn’t it the pits? I get it between books, too, especially after a really good book, and then nothing else “hits” for a while. Not that I let it stop me from reading or knitting other things, of course, but some of the savor is gone! As to lace, I’m just about at the end of the Fiddlesticks “Peacock Feathers” shawl and am loving the pattern–intricate and really beautiful. I wanted to make it the instant I saw it, it’s that lovely! (Or at least, I thought so!)

  12. One day of no Internet access and I missed it!

    Congratulations, Wendy! Take a good rest!

    L-B, you’ll finish in no time!

    Lucy is peeking at us with one eye! I wonder why?

  13. Post project depression is alive and well in my neighborhood. Since I finished bird coat I don’t want to do anything. I mope around touch yarn think about spinning pick fleece but it’s half hearted. I’m not sure what I want to do. Woe is me. I guess i could clean but…

  14. I get PPD too. It’s nice to have company to commiserate with. More importantly I have always loved the Alice Korach shawl. I even bought yarn to make it back in 1987. It’s still aging in the stash. I took a class on lace taught by Alice. She was a wonderful teacher and wonderful knitting editor. I miss Alice in the knitting world.

  15. Not only are Seasons 1 and 2 of Rocky and Bullwinkle available, but also you can get the best of Mr. Peabody and Sherman….
    In my continuing effort to corrupt my nieces and nephews despite their mother’s wishes, I sent out R&B to them the last few years. Of course I started slowly with Cinnamon Bear on tape, then the Lone Ranger, then went in for the kill with Rocky and Bullwinkle. And now that Dangermouse is available on DVD, I may have the master stroke to win the war.

  16. Um,good thing I didn’t see that pic…I definitely would have made you delete it…even if I had to wrestle you! Did you notice in the pic I have no hand. Now talk about a feat…a knitter with no hands. I. so. want. Inishmore!

  17. Hehe…i know what you mean about the depression, when you done with a piece of work/knitting etc. That is the reason why i always have several of projects going!!:-)

  18. L-B Inishmore Update says:

    I stopped last night at the beginning of the front neck shaping, lest in my sleep-deprived state I may have knitted an Inishmore halter! Full-steam ahead tonight to finish the front and tackle the last sleeve! Without hand pain, I may not have beat you,Wendy, but it could have been an exciting seaming race!

  19. oh, you simply MUST find those DVD’s if for nothing else but you’ll howl over the possible blog titles..
    Fractured fairy tales was always my favorite!
    She’s on display at Knit Happens? Ohmy, this might call for a Road Trip!

  20. I must have had a deprived childhood too. I hadn’t a clue about “fan mail from a flounder.”

    I have a large area where the lace shawl can be blocked. Just as long as you never, ever frighten me with that chart again. Ever.

    Inishmore in person is stunning!

  21. I’d like to note that Wendy would not allow me to pose in my traditional one hand over the head pose, which why I look like such a dork in the photo…

  22. Susan Maurer says:

    So what distinguishes Fisherman’s Rib? I can’t tell from the photo. Is it not like regular rib (ie, p1,k1 or p2,k2)?
    I’ve knit the Alice Korach Shetland Lace shawl, and I agree. It’s smaller than I’d like; I’ll have to send you a digital photo. I think you’re wise to go up in needle size and yarn weight. I knit mine in Jaggerspun laceweight yarn, and it’s gorgeous. It’s a great pattern too – a lot of fun to knit. You knit the lace edgings first, then pick up and knit inward, if I recall correctly. Gee, now I want to do it again, in a larger weight yarn and needle size. I can’t wait to see how yours turns out.

  23. Kristen says:

    First of all, congratulations on your sweater – it’s amazing you could accomplish that in such a short amount of time!! I also have a question, I was wondering if you could tell me what type of needles you like best for lace work? I’ve just started trying to knit lace and my good old addi turbo’s seem a little too blunt – and a little too slippery. What’s your favorite for lace weight yarn?

  24. Just a warning about the Alice Korach pattern. I’m pretty sure there are errors. I was in the process of charting to fix years ago, but got frustrated.

  25. I once did a fisherman’s rib scarf with an intarsia design, in DK. A very short scarf, because it became the never-ending project. It was a nutty idea on my part. And, Wendy, you’re not the only one who had never heard “fan mail from a flounder”.

  26. Ummm, not to be too anal, but I think it’s ‘fan mail from SOME flounder.’ You can tell your co-worker you didn’t recognize the quote because s/he had it wrong.

  27. Wow- Aran sweaters never go out of style! Those Bernat patterns look beautiful. And the hair on the models is fabulous.

  28. Well, if it makes you feel any better, I didn’t know what “fan mail from a flounder” meant, either, though my DH probably does.

  29. I’m pretty sure I still have that issue of Threads stashed away. I’ve actually become fond of small shawls/largish scarves, so I might like it as written. Another project….

  30. While I do sometimes regret that a project is finished, I have to say I have never knocked myself out the way you did.
    Cool that work has settled down and you have time to lap the building;-)
    Lace on.

  31. Maybe there’s a conference room at your work somewhere that you can do your lace blocking and leave it overnight or a couple of nights? Or someone’s garage? Spread out styrofoam pads, a blanket or towel, and there you go.

  32. Susan Maurer says:

    Fan mail from a flounder? That’s a phrase that left me floundering. I never heard of it before either.
    I’m only writing twice in one day to reassure you about the Alice Korach pattern; I never found any errors in it. Pulled out my shawl today in fact to have DH photograph me in it to email you a photo of it.
    Louise, as far as I recall, that issue of Threads has the shawl on the cover, but not the pattern in it – just an article about shetland lace. Thankfully, Schoolhouse Press (Meg Swansen) does offer it in a leaflet. Or at least she used to. That’s where I got my pattern from.

  33. Yay, congratulations on your victory.

    A thought on PPD, As a young thing I went to Art school and there this syndrom was refered to as “Postartum” (thats Post-Art-um) and we all got it but I never got it so bad until I started knitting sweaters and now it seems like it comes with any project that takes more then two weeks. Good thing I can knit almost as quick as you Ladies.

  34. Yay, congratulations on your victory.

    A thought on PPD, As a young thing I went to Art school and there this syndrom was refered to as “Postartum” (thats Post-Art-um) and we all got it but I never got it so bad until I started knitting sweaters and now it seems like it comes with any project that takes more then two weeks. Good thing I can knit almost as quick as you Ladies.

  35. “Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a pattern out of my hat!”

    A while back, I picked up a Bernat Book 516 “Irish Knits” at a used bookshop, and I’ll be darned if the sweater on page 11 isn’t the twin of the sweater in that picture. Different models, though, and published in 1983.

    And Inishmore looks lovely, but I think you knew that already. ๐Ÿ™‚