My current work in progress:

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


What’s White and Catches on Everything?

That would be Tina.

It’s a miracle I haven’t ripped poor Tina to shreds by now, but she is, amazingly, intact.

Exhibit number one:


I wear this bracelet 24/7 (well, except for right now — I took it off to photograph it).

See this little catch-thingie?


Its raison d’être since I’ve been knitting Tina is to reach out and grab a thread from Tina and pull it. So far I’ve managed to extricate Tina from its grasp and by futzing around with the pulled out thread, make it step back into the body of the shawl.

I’ve learned to turn the bracelet around so that the little catch-thingie is on the outside of my wrist, away from my knitting.

But Tina is not entirely blameless in these scenarios.

This morning when I was taking Tina out of my knitting bag, she grabbed onto this:


The zipper pull on my accessories bag within my knitting bag. But once again, futzing ensued and disaster was averted.

And of course she catches on every rough spot on my fingernails, so I’ve been wielding the emery board quite a bit these past couple of weeks.

But Tina is growing. I rounded the second corner last night and I’m into the third side now. Which makes the edging more than half done. Doh . . . see what a brilliant grasp of the obvious I have?


Kim said in the comments:
Tina is so beautiful! But she looks painful to me. As in how do you keep track of where you are in a pattern row with your stitch count without ripping your hair out? I doing FBS and I think I frog or tink more than I knit! I use yellow stickie to move along the pattern row. 3 Stitches at a time. You can see them crossing the Grand Canyon on my blog because thats how I feel right now about FBS. It’s supposed to be a ‘nice’ knit for beginning lacers. I would be in tears with Tina! She is so pretty and beautifully complex. Like a fractal of nature.

She looks complex, true. But the center panel is dead simple — so much so that I didn’t bother with stitch markers.

The border patterns are trickier, but each pattern repeat is 24 stitches, so I put a marker between each repeat. At any given time, you are dealing with a universe that consists only of 24 stitches. Granted, there are a few places where you have to move the stitch marker because it falls in the middle of a decrease, but you just need to pay extra attention there.

I keep my chart on a magnetic board with a line marker.

Therefore I know what row I’m on at all times. (That is, unless someone ::cough:: Lucy ::cough:: moves the magnetic strip when I’m not looking.) And I mark pattern repeats with stitch markers as I said.

If you’re knitting something that’s, say, 204 stitches across and the pattern repeat is 6 stitches, well, it’s not very practical to mark every single repeat. But you can group your repeats in managable chunks — like placing a marker every 24 stitches. You know you have 4 repeats in-between the stitch markers so there you are — back down to a mangeable universe of stitches.

Does that make sense?

Of course, if you’re knitting something that has a 100-stitch repeat, then you are screwed.

Well, not screwed, but the best way I could think of to keep track is using the little convoy of post-it notes marching across your chart.

Or, you could split the repeat up into sections. Photocopy your chart and draw a red line vertically at regular intervals (say . . . every 25 stitches). Then place a marker every 25 stitches. You may have to move your markers to accomodate increases and decreases now and then, but I think you’ll be better off than if you didn’t use any.



  1. Lucy just zoned out while you were enlightening us on the JOYS of marking pattern stitch repeats….teehee, what a GREAT picture.

    Futzing ensued…now THAT is a phrase I shall have to use more often. POIFECT!

  2. Nancy J says:

    Maybe Lucy’s not fond of you telling on her (since we all are led to believe she’s the Queen — and, if we don’t believe that, she’ll remind us…?) Great process explanation.

  3. Good explanation and instructions, Wendy. I don’t think I would have thought about grouping small repeats or dividing 100-st ones that way. Or maybe I just haven’t encountered any situation where I would need to. I still haven’t done any large lace projects. Your method would aid me in avoiding loads of frustration on my first one. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. It’s not all the jewellery and zippers and things. Really, it’s Tina, refusing to be put down ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Sadly, I’ve got no witty about your amazing knitting today. All I have to say is that that’s the prettiest Lucy pictures I think I’ve seen yet. I’m sheilding my little boy kitty’s eyes from the computer, lest he be overcome by her beauty.

  6. Lucy, you wild thang. That look in your eye is scaring me. But I like it. Meow.

  7. Flirty Tina! And Lucy looks adorable…

  8. That Tina! She’s a gold hound, eh? Can’t blame her, really!

  9. So I don’t have the only misbehaving Tina! Mine keeps wrapping herself around the zipper of the zip-lock bag I so thoughtfully provided to keep her clean. Ungrateful wench!

  10. Susan Maurer says:

    Donna’s right. Tina just doesn’t want to be put down. Better oblige her. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m looking forward to the end of Tina (so to speak) and the continuation of Peacock Feathers…

  11. You mentioned using the stitch markers in a previous post, and I took a page from that book when I started the sleeves of my corset pullover. I think the pattern is pretty simple, but I’ve never done lace before and the stitch markers have been lifesavers! I still have to tink occasionally, but not nearly as often (note to self: I cannot watch movies and knit lace at the same time). Thanks for the knitting tips! Tina is gorgeous and I can’t wait until I’m as accomplished a lace knitter as you!

  12. Have you ever actually been tempted by a pattern with a 100-stitch repeat?

  13. I’d wear that bracelet 24/7 too!

  14. Thanks SOOOO much for the marker tips! I put ‘removable’ markers on FBS last night and it made a world of difference. I made some by cutting thin rings from straws. I then cut the ring so I could pull them off and on.

    I placed them at the beginning of the start of the repeats so I could ‘see’ them clearly. That way I could have an easier time of counting AND I could just pull them off when I was done with that row. The center stitch markers are ‘permanent’ in the pattern and don’t move. That all made it easier to work the pattern.

    Great tips. Thanks Wendy. I’m back to being ‘happy’ with my FBS! Pats to Lucy from Luna. Did you see Luna with the baby raccoon last month? June 3 archive. Luna would LOVE Lucy though I’m not sure Lucy would love Luna!

  15. And did you know that raccoons PURRED? Really LOUD?

  16. First time poster here-
    This is the second tip in the past week or so that I’ve gathered from your blog! (The life line was the first.) I LOVE your tips! They are FANTASTIC for a newish knitter like myself! Thanks!

    (Lucy looks like a sweetie. I like your daily pic’s of her.)

  17. Lucy doesn’t care for lace?
    Tina may be painful but she’ll be worth the agony.

  18. I’m starting to think that Tina is doing this on purpose, that bad girl.

    P.S. I love Lucy’s face in the photo. I swear it looks like she’s doing an imitation of me getting drowsy in this heat wave we’re having.

  19. You and your earworms! Now I’ve got that awful “Convoy” song stuck in my head. I suppose this dates me, doesn’t it?

    Even if a repeat is only 6 stitches, I put markers between repeats because otherwise I wind up knitting on autopilot and the whole thing gets hosed up. Sigh.

  20. Katherine says:

    I’ve been doing a lot of lace knitting recently. I had been using removable white-out tape. But when I started the current shawl I didn’t have any. Instead I got some liquid Post-It glue and put it on the back of a business card

    Bingo! I made the glue layer fairly thick and the stiff card moves easily and has lasted much longer than the removable tape. I find that Post-It notes don’t last long at all and tend to fall off while my work is stored leaving me lost.

  21. I really like the picture of the edging, it is amazing that something so delicate can catch on so many things!

  22. Oh Lucy– you’re scaring me…..