My current work in progress:

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


Consider It Blocked

I unpinned the “Purple Haze” shawl ( thanks for the naming idea, Alice!) when I got home today. Here it is.


And the artistic shot:


It’s not easy to photograph because it is large!

Julie asked in the comments: “I’m wondering, though – how do you keep Lucy off your lace while it’s blocking?”


I’m sorry — can you repeat the question? ๐Ÿ˜‰

“Get away from me! This shawl is mine. MINE, do you hear me?”


Lucy very carefully and daintily walked around it while it was damp, but as soon as she deemed it dry enough . . . well, you see.

I’ve always had cats helping me with the blocking process — here’s my sweet Tristan helping me block the Peace Shawl (during my last Summer of Lace, 5 years ago, a couple of months before Tristan died at a ripe old age):

While blocking on a bed or a board is a good idea, this shawl measures 40 by 106 inches. Far too long to fit anywhere, really, except the floor. At least in my universe. (Sorry, I didn’t measure it pre-blocking, so can’t tell you how large it was. I’d guess about half the finished, blocked size.)

Tina Shawl

I’ve started the Tina Shawl, from Fiddlesticks Knitting. As noted in the sidebar, I’m making it from Misti Alpaca Lace and using a US 6 (4.0mm) needle.

One starts with the center square, and uses a provisional cast-on, as one will be picking up stitches all around the square and knitting the borders in the round. I used a crochet chain cast-on.


The Misti Alpace Lace yarn is lovely — very soft and silky with just a bit of a halo of fuzz. It was a bit fiddly at first knitting this laceweight yarn with a size 6 needle, but I quickly got used to it. I tried using an Inox Express needle, but it was very slippery, alarmingly so. I quickly went back to my Addi Natura (bamboo) needle and am happy with it.


Now I’m impatiently wanting to get started on the borders, because I know they will take freaking forever to complete!


  1. Wait a minute- was your Izzy actually “Isolde”?? And were Tristan and Izzy together at the same time? That’s GENIUS to name them those names together!!!

    The shawl is HUGE! I didn’t realize how large it would block to from your previous photos. It’s very lovely!!

  2. wow – I can’t trust my cats to “help” with blocking…Zoe likes to burrow underneath blankets, and anything blocking on the floor qualifies…and Remy…he’d probably scratch at it and yank out all the pins! So, I have to do my blocking in a room they aren’t allowed in! Naughty things… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Ah well, I know Grace will flop down possessively on my Branching Out, but if your kitties have been helping you all these years, then I guess it will work out just fine! Tristan looks just like my childhood kitty Chetty, and coincidentally Chetty also had a literary name: his full name was Mr. Rochester. And my daughter wants me to tell you how lovely Lucy is, but I’m sure you already know! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Way to go Wendy! It is truly lovely. The photo of Lucy “in full teeth” is fantastic! I may hear the siren call of Lace yet. I wonder if there is a Lace pattern called “Sugar Magnolia”? If not, you should design one, it would be perfect for a “Southern” Summer of Lace project!

    Best- KT

  5. marylee says:

    Your speed confounds and boggles my mind! Has the department of energy contacted you yet regarding the wind that is being generated by your needles?I’m in shock and awe!

  6. Absolutely gorgeous. I hope that one day I’ll be half as good and half as fast as you are. I just love all the pictures you post of your FOs.

  7. gorgeous!

  8. Oh. My. God. Wendy, it is gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous.

  9. Your shawl is gorgeous!!! You inspired me to begin my Kiri shawl yesterday and I have made it to row 18 so far. It will be a long time before I finish this shawl, but I have you and your completed shawls as an inspiration.

  10. Purple haze is BEAUTIFUL!!!… and tina is looking amazing too. My cat loves to “break in” my knitting too.

  11. Simply Exquisite!!!!!!

  12. It is so pretty! I like that color much better than the color it is in in Knitter’s Shawls and Scarves. Maybe I will knit that one after all!

  13. It’s positively delicious! I really enjoyed using Misti Alpaca for shawls. It gets even softer after washing with just a bit more bloom. And surprisingly warm.

  14. Your shawl is beautiful–of course!!

  15. I’m a big fan of Misti Alpaca. I know you’ll love your shawl when it’s done!

  16. Freaking forever? Wendy, in your world is that going to be more than a week? If I try to imagine something that takes you forever to knit, well, I am guessing it would be a shawl that would essentially block out the sun for all of Springfield…

  17. I am not interested in it.

  18. that Lucy photo is PRICELESS

  19. Looks great Wendy, can we see a modeled shot?

  20. Very beatiful (as always). Like the name too! Hmmm…Let me get back to my less than a foot of lace. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Merrill says:

    Really beautiful. The color is gorgeous.

    How do you store your lace shawls?

  22. Didja have to show the “artistic shot”? I’ve been thinking of knitting a curtain for my kitchen door and I think this will be the perfect design! That’s not quite copycat status,is it? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  23. How is your Lucy so good at blocking? Do her nails ever get into the mix? I am afraid my LucyFur has a slightly more aggressive blocking technique…

  24. My cat Chloe is a clone of Tristan. And, she is just about to turn 14! How old was Tristan when he died? (Please say waaay older than 14).

  25. Thanks for the new pics — what a beautiful shawl. I have roared past the 2% mark on my stole, and am closing in rapidly on 3%! More than an inch knitted already — woo hoo! {rolls eyes sardonically} At this point I can still knit it on the metro, about 2.5 rows per trip. I’m hoping I’ll get faster as I get used to the tiny yarn!

  26. That came out beautiful, and wow I don’t think I have any surface on which I could block something that large. Wonder if I could block the two halves separately and THEN graft. I have the ‘Tina’ pattern and some black silk/cashmere yarn for it, I’ll be interested to see how it goes on.

  27. Is Lucy declawed?? I was wondering how she doesn’t snag everything up.

  28. The finished shawl is wonderful! Thank you so much for posting the pictures and the process of blocking! I found it helpful!

    Loved the pictures of Lucy and shawl – cats have exquisite taste, and Lucy exhibits this well.

  29. I’m impressed with your shawls! I’ve gotten a bit of shawl envy right now; just the thing to casually toss over your shoulders when it’s a crisp spring evening and you’re wearing a strappy dress. I don’t think I’d have the patience to knit one, though. (I can barely coax myself into winding hanks into balls!) So I double salute you ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. My cats always like to lend a paw to my blocking process. I just don’t understand why they’d want to lay on a sopping wet sweater with pins sticking out allover, but it doesn’t seem to phase them. As strange as they are, they actually seem to prefer wet knitting to dry.

  31. Oh Wendy wow!! The shawl is exquisite!! Gorgeous work….

  32. Wendy, once again you have done it … Your work is absolutely marveleous.

    And Lucy looks like she is such a good helper! ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Wendy , the Purple Haze is just beautiful. It must be great to turn out these works of art so fast.