My current work in progress:

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


Archives for September 2005

One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

Tara asked an interesting question the other day:
I want to knit my friend a wedding shawl (more detail on my blog) and can’t seem to find the perfect yarn or pattern…I’d rather make up my own then buy one. I greatly admire the shawls you’ve designed and I have a question: how do you decide what lace stitches go together and how many repeats to do before changing to the next?

I’ve been giving this some thought. How do you decide what stitches go together and how many repeats to do before changing to the next?

I realized that it’s something I just . . . well . . . do. There are certain lace stitches that just seem to go together. I think of a shawl (a triangular shawl anyhow) as having three major components — the body of the shawl, the border, and the edging.

As for how many repeats of each pattern, I think that in my head I think of the body being roughly two-thirds to the border’s one-third. And then the edging is just the gravy.

But . . . what stitch patterns go together? beats me. Some just do. And I think a lot of this is subjective. There are patterns that I don’t like, that I think look “eh,” that other people love. And there are patterns that I love that other people hate.

What do you all think?




I did indeed finish the back, and started the front. In case you wondered, it is possible to pick up 122 stitches along the straight edge of the lace edging in the time it takes the train to go from the Pentagon to Metro Center.


Just in case you wondered.

P.S. to Sophia and Bosco

Lucy would like Sophia and Bosco to know that her Greenies are shaped like tiny fish. Isn’t that neat?

“I wonder if there are any Greenies in here?”


This week L-B told me that the Petsmart near her is out of Feline Greenies. That made me a little anxious — what if there were a worldwide shortage of Feline Greenies?


Go without Greenies? Not my little princess!

Wacky Wednesday

Early morning sky in DC:


Today was One of Those Days.

There was a Very Important Powwow at the office today. Yesterday as I was formulating my excuse for why I would not be able to attend the Very Important Powwow, the Big Boss phoned me and said “Please plan to attend the Very Important Powwow tomorrow with me and the Really Big Boss.”

Curses, foiled again.

As I was sitting in the Very Important Powwow, trying to look as meek and insignificant as possible, it crossed my mind to wonder how the Extraordinarily Important People present would react if I whipped out a camera and starting taking photos for my blog.

Ah, the power of the blog!

So. Yeah, I was going to head over to Knit Happens apres work for Late Night, but the extreme wackiness of this Wednesday caused extreme fatigue and precluded me from doing so.


I’m close to completing the back.


Lucy Fur

Yes! The Zoom Groom! That’s what the purple grooming thingie is called. The King of All Remote Controls gave it to Miss Lucy for Christmas last year, and she loves it.

Alisa asked:
What do you do to get all of her fur out of your projects? I’m currently knitting the Feather and Fans shawl from Gathering of Lace for my mother and my Oliver’s fur is all over it and in it… Usually I just ignore the fur when I’m working with thicker yarns, but it really shows up in the lace. He may be a shorthair, but he sheds a lot.

Lucy actually doesn’t shed all that much. Sure, a stray cat hair or two usually work their way into my knitting, but nothing to cause any concern. Unless I were knitting for someone who is dramatically allergic to cats. Then we’d have big problems.

Lucy Sez


After you brush me, may I have some greenies?


This morning’s sunrise:


I blame the Sky Queen for my sudden interest in taking photos of the sky.


I liked Mary’s suggestion of the name “Skye” for my new sweater, so Skye it is! But thanks to all of you for your suggestions — they were all fun and very creative!

I’ve made some nice progress on Skye — here she is.


I really love knitting with Calmer — it is close to being a perfect yarn for me. As much as I love wool, and as much as I love fair isles and arans, they are not really practical for wearing, when I get right down to it.

I spend my days in an office, so my poor fair isles and arans get very little wear, as it’s too warm for them most of the time. But I’m not a fan of acrylic yarn, and I really don’t like knitting with cotton, either. But Calmer is a joy to knit. It’s soft and squishy and sproingy. Ahhhhhhh . . . even the name makes me happy. Seriously, it’s hard to be anxious or angst-ridden when one is knitting with something called Calmer.


Other Yummy Yarn

Yep, Calmer is right up there. But so are wool/silk blends, like Alchemy Synchronicity, which I just used for my Hourglass Sweater.And you know what else is really really nice?

Cashmere/silk blends. Pardon me while I pause to drool.

Lookie here:


This is Filatura Di Crosa Trilly Cashmere Blend — I got 10 skeins of it (146 yards/skein, dk weight) on eBay. Paid less than half retail price, thank you very much.

I’m having fun dreaming about what it will become!

Help the Kitties!

A note from Ginger:
I am the cat adoption coordinator for my local animal shelter — Trenton Animal Control Bureau. As you can imagine, being in an urban area, we have way too many cats and kittens breeding, being abandoned and abused. More than we can find homes for. I have four sick kittens recuperating at my house now on antibiotics in addition to my 4 permanent cats from the shelter.

I was just wondering if you might list my information as a place to donate catnip toys to? I am planning to make some and take a basket with me on Saturdays and Sundays to adoption day at Petco and sell them for donations. We will probably “donate” one or two to a cat or kitten in a display cage as well. All the money will go to the care of the cats and kittens we are trying to get adopted. We have an account at a local vet office (who discounts for us) to get medical care. All of our food and litter is donated by Petco (they give us broken boxes and bags), so 100% of the money goes either to the Vet or for cleaning supplies for the cages.

Ginger’s blog is here and you can send her an email here.

Beauty Tips from Lucy

Jaimie L. asked:
I wondered what type of brush you use on Lucy. Do you use a wire slicker or a nylon one?

Lucy gets groomed with two brushes. First, this one:


She loves this brush, particularly when it is being wielded by The King of All Remote Controls.

After that brush, she gets a once-over with this one:


And after that, a bit of a lie-down is always good. Preferably in the middle of my knitting.


Goodbye Blue Sky


The sky at noon today.

Scary Math?

Ann in CT asked:
About fudging the increases and decreases because your row gauge is off. I’m about to face this problem. My pattern calls for 30 rows to 10cm and I’m getting 32 rows. What kind of scary math do you have to do to make the adjustment? (And I realize I haven’t given enough info on my pattern, but I figure there must be a general rule of thumb. For instance on the sleeves it’s increase 2 sts on the 13th row and the 4 following 16th rows.)

Let me say first off that math is not my forte. So I try to do things as simply as possible.

Figuring from what you tell me, the increases are done over 77 rows. (That’s 16 times 4 plus 13 equals 77 — right?) 77 rows in the pattern row gauge of 30 rows to 10cm (4 inches) gives you a length of about 10.25 inches over which you are doing your increases.

Your row gauge is 32 rows to 10cm (4 inches), so you will knit 82 rows to achieve the same 10.25 inches. What I would do is increase on the first three 16th rows and the following two 17th rows — that’ll give you 82 rows total.

Or something like that. Did I do the math right?

It’s New Project Monday!

Wheee! A new sweater to knit! A new sweater to knit!

I had a goodly amount of Rowan Calmer in my stash, in shade 480 (Peacock), that has been calling out to become a nice, comfy sweater.

Because I’m not quite yet over the Summer of Lace, I started by knitting a lace edging for the bottom. I do so love a good lace edging.


I picked up stitches along the straight edge of the lace, and started knitting up for the back of my sweater.


This is going to be a long tunic style sweater, with a little bit of waist shaping, with long set-in sleeves.

I haven’t thought of a name for the design yet — nothing is calling out to me!

Lucy Sez


When I strike a cute pose, I get more greenies.

Hourglass Sweater

The Hourglass Sweater is done. Here it is, straight off the needles:


I also tried it on for the official bathroom mirror shot:


The color in the first shot is much more accurate.

I don’t think any blocking is needed — I’ll just give it a once-over with a steam iron.

I love this sweater. I imagine I’ll wear this a lot when the weather gets cooler.

I made this with some mods. First of all, I didn’t do the facings on the lower edge, sleeves, and neckline. I did a seed stitch border instead. Because my row gauge was a bit off, I adjusted the rate of decreasing and increasing to achieve the proper shaping on the body and sleeves.

When I was working on the yoke, I thought the finished neckline was going to be way too wide. Turns out, I would have been correct. With 8 rounds left to go on the yoke, I doubled the rate of decreases (decreasing on every round instead of every other round) to get a narrower neckline, and I’m glad I did. I have somewhat narrow shoulders, and I didn’t want the sweater hanging off my shoulders, as it undoubtedly would have had I knit it as directed.

I also knitted the sleeves a full 2 inches shorter than directed. Also glad I did that — they would have been way too long. As knitted, they just cover my wrists and are exactly the length I like.

So color me happy!

This sweater took a bit over 8.5 skeins of Alchemy Synchronicity. No doubt it would have taken much closer to the 10 skeins the pattern indicated had I done the facings and made the sleeves as directed.

I started another sweater today. Big surprise, eh?

But I’ll talk about that tomorrow.

Lucy Sez:


“I want more greenies, Mommy!”