My current work in progress:

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


Archives for July 2005

Sunday in the Garden

I did indeed finish knitting the Shetland Garden Faroese Shawl, yesterday morning.

Here it is, fresh off the needles:


And here it is, after I blocked it this afternoon. Forty-five minutes and a ga-jillion pins later!


I am mighty pleased with how this looks blocked.


It took less than 45 minutes of pinning and repinning to get it into the proper shape and size. I did not use blocking wires, because all the edges are curved. So I just pinned and pinned and pinned.

The yarn is a mystery wool — laceweight hand-dyed wool that has been in my stash, and I don’t remember where I bought it. It is a one-ply yarn, so I started out treating it gently — didn’t want anything to snap because of my over-zealous blocking. But it stood up just fine, I’m pleased to say.

Lucy needed a nap after all the supervising she had to do during the blocking.


So, I started on this:


The Inky Dinky Spider Stole, from Fiddlesticks Knitting.

I’m using Cherry Tree Hill Suri Alpaca in the “java” colorway.

So far, so good! You start by knitting a corner, using short row shaping, then the bottom border, then another corner. Then you pick up stitches along the long edge of the bottom border, and knit up from that, knitting the side edging on each side as you go along. Great fun!


I Promise

The next time you see this:


Will be when I show you blocking photos. A rash promise, I realize, but hopefully one I can keep.

In thinking ahead, I wound my Java Suri Alpaca into a ball.


As you can see from that photo, the resident yarn inspector has checked it out thoroughly. She pronounces it fit to use for the Inky Dinky Spider Stole.

Said Yarn Inspector is just plumb tuckered out from her battles with the evil emery board.


I know how she feels. I do believe I’ll join her.

Toodles til next week!

In a Garden

I continue to knit in a garden.

Well, more specifically, I am knitting on a garden. My Shetland Garden.


I know — it doesn’t look like much right now, does it? Oh, but just wait til it’s blocked!

I’m happily making progress on the border chart, so I predict a finished shawl before next week. Then it will be on to the Inky Dinky Spider!

Of Laceweight Yarn and Buttonholes

Heather asked a good question in the comments:
Any recommendations for a type or brand of lace weight yarn? I’ve knit lace with sport weight to get the hang of it, but when I try to use lace weight it just “floats” too much on the needles and I can’t keep my place. I’m sure it gets better as the added weight of the items increases, but I can’t get there. What do you think?

Very fine laceweight can be a pain!

Starting out knitting lace with sportweight is an excellent idea. Some of my early lace projects were made from fingering weight wool. I particularly liked Brown Sheep Naturespun fingering. It is relatively inexpensive and is fine enough to give a nice lacy effect.

Another idea is Shetland jumperweight — which is fingering weight as well. Or you can try Shetland laceweight for your first foray into laceweight knitting. Shetland wool is slight hairy so there’s a bit of grab on the needles — less likely to fly all over the place.

Schoolhouse Press sells Jamieson & Smith shetland laceweight. And jumperweight and cobweb weight, for that matter. You can also buy all this direct from Jamieson & Smith, though they do not have online ordering through their website. Email ’em, or better yet, call ’em!

Sherry asked:
When I am not working on my lace shawl, I have been making a cardigan. Buttonholes….
what is your method? Not happy with mine….
I have plans for a jacket next, but the buttonhole thing is bothering me.

Buttonholes can be a pain, can’t they? I don’t knit a lot of cardis with buttonholes, so I don’t have a lot of experience with them. Generally I do the two-row buttonhole where you cast off on one row, and then cast on over the cast off on the next row.

Suggestion: take a look at Nancie Wiseman’s The Knitter’s Book of Finishing Techniques. She’s got several different buttonholes explained and you might find one that you like.

Summer of Lace Update

Over in the Summer of Lace group we were discussing what to do when summer is over. We took a vote, and the majority ruled that we would rename the group “Lace for All Seasons” at the end of summer. So if you sorta kinda felt like you sorta kinda wanted to join but gee golly summer is like half over (or if you are in the Southern Hemisphere in middle of winter), fear not! The group is staying. We shall knit lace whenever the heck we want to.

I’ve got some lovely autumnal merino wool that I plan to use to knit a flower basket or leaf shawl when the weather here is a bit more autumnal.

Speaking of Books

Several of you have asked in comments and emails when my book is due to be published. Well, I talked to my agent today and he tells me it’s slated for either May or August of 2006, depending on which production cycle it gets into. So . . . a while yet. But I understand my editor is very happy with my manuscript, so I am happy too.

Lucy and the Manicure

It’s nice to know that I’m not the only person who has a cat obsessed with emery boards. As I said, all the cats that I’ve known have had the same obsession.

Last night after I retired for the night Lucy proceeded to fight the Battle of the Emery Board. The dastardly emery board tried to get away from her, but it was no match for her military prowess.

It did, however, cut into my night’s sleep, as I was attempting to sleep on the battlefield. Really, I ought to know better.

All hail Lucy the Conqueror!


What is scary?

My laceweight yarn stash, that’s what. I took a stab at inventorying what I’ve got. It seems that I have over 22 miles of laceweight yarn. And that’s just the stuff I can remember.

BTW, in answer to Leila’s question — I’ve never before knitted with the CTH Suri Alpaca, so I don’t know about it’s “shed-ability.” Guess I’ll find out with Inky-Dinky!

While I was going about the inventorying process, I realized that the yarn I’m using for my Shetland Garden Faroese shawl is not the olive green yarn I bought from eBay seller Over the Rainbow. It’s another olive green laceweight wool that’s been marinating in my stash for a bit. So it is now referred to as “stash yarn.” Doh!

Speaking of the Shetland Garden Faroese Shawl


I have embarked on the last chart. Woo-hoo! This is the border chart, so I have the illusion of being near the end, though really I am not. The chart is 40 rows long, then there’s 6 rows of garter stitch after that. But still, I feel as though I’m coming down the home stretch.



Several people mentioned Anne Macdonald’s book No Idle Hands in the comments to yesterday’s post. I’ve had that book since it was first published (and Anne very kindly signed my copy for me). It’s a very interesting read and I highly recommend it. I had the pleasure of spending some time with Anne at a couple of TKGA knitting conventions in the 1980s, before the book was published. I was pleased to see that a good deal of Anne’s delightful personality and wit are present in her writing.

Another book on the history of knitting that I’ve had since its original publication is Richard Rutt’s A History of Hand Knitting. I believe it was out of print for a while and was recently reprinted. I can’t give you my opinion of this book because I don’t believe I’ve actually ever read it. The poor thing has sat on my bookshelf for years, untouched. I oughtta be ashamed of myself, I know.

Anyone out there have an opinion of this book?

Speaking of Books

Judging from the reports I’ve been reading in blogland, I seem to be in a minority. I’ve never read a Harry Potter book.



Can you see the item on the lefthand side of the photo? That’s Lucy’s emery board.

I’ve never met a cat who is not obsessed with emery boards. I finally gave up and gave that one to Lucy. She adores it. She’s been bringing it to bed the past few nights.

Cat Days


While “technically” we are in the Dog Days of Summer, I am declaring our current hot spell the Cat Days. Why? So that I can give this blog entry a title other than “Monday.”

The truth is, I’ve got nothing. Well, very little, anyway.

I am happily knitting along on the Shetland Garden Faroese shawl. I am in the second to last chart. While this sounds like I’m nearing completion, do not be fooled. I’ve got 55 or 60 rows to go, and the rows are, of course, getting longer as I knit.


But as it is a very fun knit, I’m cool. As cool as possible, anyhow.

So . . . some stash enhancement photos.


I went a little nuts buying Kidsilk Haze. (The colors are Jelly, Trance, and Lord, three skeins of each.) But I bought the Simply Stunning Collection of patterns, so I’ve got lots of uses for Kidsilk Haze. However, I don’t plan on knitting with it until cooler weather hits.

My next lace project is going to be the Inky Dinky Spider Stole.


Knitted from this:


Cherry Tree Hill Suri Alpaca in the Java colorway. Yummers. Drinking coffee may make me feel as though my heart is going to explode, but I can still knit with it!

A Book Review

A while back I was sent a copy of Maran Illustrated Knitting & Crocheting and I’m now getting around to reviewing it. This looks like a very handy reference book for new knitters — there are lots of very clear photos accompanying detailed instructions for the basics of knitting, plus information on more advanced techniques, like knitting lace, cables, intarsia, fair isle, and working short rows, and fixing mistakes.

There’s also a section on crochet that I know I’ll find useful (being a crochet amateur). There are also a number of projects in the book, ranked according to difficulty.

All in all, a good basic reference book on knitting.