My current work in progress:

Stornoway, designed by Alice Starmore from her book Fishermen’s Sweaters, knit in Frangipani 5-ply guernsey wool in the Aran colorway, on a 3.0mm needle.

Archives for June 2005

Save My Life, I’m Going Down for the Last Time

Does anyone remember that song lyric?

Helene asked in the comments what a lifeline is, so that song has been running through my head. Must . . . try . . . to . . . find . . . it . . . for . . . the . . . iPod.

Lifelines in knitting. A lifeline is a thread that you run through all the live stitches on your needle and leave in as you continue to knit. If you put a lifeline in every “x” number of rows, and you find an error, you can rip down to the first lifeline below the error, and because that thread is run through the stitches, you can easily put them back on the needle.

I’ve heard that dental floss makes a great lifeline, but any smooth yarn that fits easily through the stitches would work. It is helpful if your lifeline is a different color than your project yarn. A word of caution — if you are using stitch markers you need to be careful not to run your lifeline through your stitch markers.

Have I ever used a lifeline? Nope. Have I ever wished I had a lifeline? Yup.

In my early days of lace knitting I made mistakes that I wouldn’t notice immediately. And I found ripping out lace to be hell on wheels. So lifelines woulda been useful.

Nowadays I am far too impatient to take the time to put a lifeline into my knitting. But I pay extra-close attention when I’m knitting lace. I find that if you are watching what you are doing, any errors in your lace pattern will be noticeable on the next row, and are relatively easy to fix.

An Error in Judgment

I may have made a grave error in judgment.

I started knitting my Peacock Feathers shawl on the train this morning.


What’s the problem? I want to abandon everything and do nothing but knit Peacock Feathers. To hell with Tina! To hell with work! Housework? Ha! Don’t be silly.

Well, I always feel that way about housework.

But I am going to have to talk to myself very sternly to make myself knit poor Tina’s edging. This is gonna be tough. I am a weak, weak woman.

Oh, and the Joslyn’s Fiber Farm Angel Hair yarn? I love it!

It is a bit heavier than the Misti Alpaca I am using for Tina, and is lovely to knit. The colorway I am using, Plumes, is beautiful, and I think is gonna look great with the Peacock Feathers pattern.

But when I got home I sucked it up and knitted one repeat of the edging on Tina. The first repeat is the worst — very fiddly. I’m going to have to speed things up if I want to finish this in my lifetime.


Lucy doesn’t care what I knit, as long as she can sit with me while I knit.


Alrighty, then. Peacock Feathers.

The popular vote for my next lace project seems to be the Peacock Feathers Shawl, so I shall make it so. I plan to use this yarn:


Joslyn’s Fiber Farm Angel Hair in the “Plumes” colorway. (How could I not knit a design called “Peacock Feathers” in a colorway called “Plumes?”)

But in the meantime, I’m knitting madly along on Tina. I’m very close to the edge. Well, yeah, I am a knitter on the edge, but what I meant there is that I’m closing in on the end of the last border pattern.

Almost-still life, with feline.


I will finish the border knitting tonight, so I shall start Peacock Feathers on the train in the morning. Then tomorrow evening, I’ll start the edging on Tina.

Multi-tasking at its finest.


Helene asked:
What do you do if you find a mistake far down in your work? Do you frog the whole thing, or do you figure out a way to “cheat”?

I vote to cheat.

But I find in lace knitting, you can usually spot any mistakes very soon after making them. The patterns tend to build on one another, so if you made a mistake, you’d likely find it in the next round.

Frogging lace is a horrible experience (at least in my opinion) because of all the yarnovers and decreases, and one that I don’t care to do. It helps, of course, if you put lifelines in your work at intervals, but I never do. I like to live dangerously.

Fishtail Lace Scarf Pattern

Lorrie solved the problem with downloading the pattern from the Yahoo group by very generously posting it here. (It’s a pdf file — you’ll need Adobe Reader to open it.) Thanks, Lorrie!

Psst! Want Some Easy Lace?

Then join the Summer of Lace Group!

One of our members, Lorrie, has kindly posted a free pattern for a very pretty Fishtail Lace Scarf she has designed. Her pattern uses 3 balls of Blue Sky Alpaca Sport (120yd / 2oz.) and is knitted on US Size 4 (3.5mm) needles at a gauge of 6 st/inch. The finished scarf is 7″ wide by 56″ long. The pattern is lovely, and a great beginner project. You could substitute any yarn that fits the specifications, or if you’re feeling adventuresome, try it in something completely different.

How to get the pattern? Join the Summer of Lace Group! The pattern is posted in the files section of the group website. There’s a great photo of the scarf on the pattern. Thanks Lorrie!

Hey, Guess What?

My Tina Shawl still looks like a crumpled rag. A slightly larger crumpled rag, but a crumpled rag nonetheless.


But look — she does impressions! Here she is being a Sea Anemone:


But I’m making progress. I’m still projecting that I’ll be starting the edging this weekend.

So of course I’m thinking about what to make next. Should I do an easy lace shawl or scarf as a “breather” or dive right into another more difficult design?

Submitted for your consideration:

On the easier side, I have the Fiber Trends Leaf Lace Shawl pattern.


And the Fiber Trends Flower Basket Shawl pattern.


And on the harder side, I have the Fiddlesticks Knitting Peacock Feathers Shawl pattern.


And the Inky Dinky Spider Stole pattern, also from Fiddlesticks Knitting.


And finally, Hazel Carter’s Song of Hiawatha Stole pattern.


I’ve got appropriate yarns for all of these.

Whaddya think?

I wonder what Lucy’s favorite is?


She’s too busy channel-surfing to tell me.

Just Another Manic Monday

The perfect antidote to a horrific day at work? Curling up at home with some lace.


I enjoyed readng all your comments about what you use for stitch markers in a pinch: rubber bands, yarn loops, paper clips, earrings.

By the way, the Knit Happens online store also carries rubber stitch markers — these are black, not red, but they work just as well. I bought some over the weekend to augment my red rubber ones, so I know this to be true!

I’m still plugging away at the border of Tina — I’ve got less than 20 rounds of border left, but they are very long rounds! And then a gazillion repeats of the edging.

A preview of coming attractions:


Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go snuggle with Lucy.


Lazy Sunday


Lucy and I are having a lazy Sunday.


This includes knitting slowly on lace.


It is growing, but slowly. I am well into the second border chart at this point, but that is deceptive, as each round gets longer — they are now very long indeed! It takes a very long time to complete a round, but I am in no rush (It is not a race. It is not a race.) so it is enjoyble.

A question in the comments — do I ever use yarn loops as stitch markers? I have, but only in an emergency, when I was somewhere without any markers when I needed one. I prefer the weight of a rubber, or metal, or beaded stitch marker. In my experience, a yarn loop is more likely to fly off a needle and disappear. Still, necessity is the mother of invention. I’ve used all sorts of makeshift stitch markers when the need arose.

I’m hoping to have the body of this shawl done by the end of the week, then I’ll spend next weekend working on the edging, which I expect will take a very large chunk of time to complete. I think when I reach the point of attaching the edging, I won’t be able to take Tina along as a commuter project, so I ought to start thinking about what my next lace project will be. Hmmmmmm . . .