My current work in progress:

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


Archives for January 2006

Huh? Where Was I?

Okay, after a couple of days of drive-by blogging, here’s a semi-normal post. Sort of the equivalent of slowing down to 15 m.p.h.

Rose is looking pretty much the same, just a bit longer.


Regarding the teal hogget . . .

I thought I had 20 ounces of it, but when I weighed it, I discovered it was 17 ounces. You see, I had 5 “balls” of the roving, and the first one I weighed was 4 ounces, so I figured they were all equal size . . . but they weren’t. Some were smaller.

Anyhow, here’s my 17 ounces of teal hogget:


It’s a total of 975 yards. I wound it on my ballwinder.


So . . . what to do with 975 yards of worsted weight wool?

I knitted a swatch.


It doesn’t suck too badly. This is made on U.S. size 7 (4.5mm) needles and after a steam with the iron has a gauge of 4 stitches and 6 rows to the inch. I could have knit it a bit tighter, but my handspun is a bit denser than commercial yarn, so I like it knitted at a looser gauge.


I futzed around with Sweater Wizard a bit, and discovered I can make a pullover that’s 24″ long, slight waist shaping, round neck, and three-quarter length sleeves: 950 yards. So I think I shall. Maybe after Rose.


More Drive-By Blogging

Regular blogging will resume in a day or two.

A Quick One . . .

Just a quickie. Drive-by blogging, if you will.

You may recall the teal hogget roving I blogged about last month. I’ve got about 20 ounces total, and as of right now, I’ve spun about 12 ounces worth of singles.

So this afternoon I plied 8 ounces.


It’s about worsted weight, and there are two skeins there. One’s about 196 yards, and one’s about 270 yards.


It’s Lincoln/Dorset wool, and I’m quite enamoured of the resulting yarn. I’m continuing to spin the rest.



I also worked a little on Rose this weekend:


Extreme closeup!


And Lucy worked on napping!


The Knit Goes On


I love colorwork.

Catherine asked:
I had a question about colorwork. I have been knitting for a while and although I have done cables and complicated lace patterns I am afaid of colorwork. I decided to start small (with a baby sweater for a friends newborn), but I am worried about the stranding on the back of fair isle. Have you ever knit for wee ones and if so, do you worry about little tiny fingers getting caught in the strands?

When I am knitting for myself, I do not weave my colorwork. I have some pretty long floats on some of my colorwork!

But when knitting for a baby or small child, I weave like crazy — to make sure little fingers don’t get caught in the stranding and yank on it.

Knitting Challenges

Sharon asked:
What has been the most challenging item you have knit to date and why, and what is the most challenging item you can think of to knit now, and why?

And, of the AS Arans, which do you recommend for someone making their first? (I have Aran Knitting, Fisherman’s Sweaters and The Celtic Collection.) I’m thinking I might make one for the Yarn Harlot’s Olympic Knitting Event (or at least try). Thanks for the help!

To the first question? I dunno. Probably the shetland lace wedding handkerchief I made back in the early 1990s.


Diet Coke can included for scale.


Cat included for scale.


Fingertip included for scale.

This was . . . um . . . my first lace knitting project, apart from lace panels in sweaters. That should tell you why it was challenging. That and the fact that it’s knitted with cobweb weight shetland wool on size 0000 needles. I punched holes in my fingers several times with those blasted needles.

The pattern came from the book Knitting Around the World published by Threads magazine.

As for my recommendation for a first aran from among those designed by Alice Starmore? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Na Craga. It’s relatively easy, but extremely nice-looking. The yarn it calls for, Scottish Heather, is no longer available, but Jamiesons Soft Shetland is the same yarn. I’ve also made Na Craga in Brown Sheep Naturespun worsted. Cascade 220 or any other smooth worsted would work beautifully.

As for the most challenging item you can think of to knit now . . . well, I think I answered that yesterday. Sharon Miller’s Princess Shawl.

Marie commented:
Well, I’ve thought of a knitting challenge for you. You could *teach*. Something. To someone. In 16 days. After all, once a champion has conquered all, there’s always a coaching career to go to. Or is knitting more like ice skating, where champions settle into a career of soft-lob Ice Capade exhibitions?

As it happens, I am going to be teaching someone to knit, very soon. Probably starting next week. However, I’m not going to turn it into a challenge, because I don’t want to put pressure on the student.

The student is a member of my staff, an expectant daddy, who wants to knit something for his new baby. Say it with me: Awwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Lucy seems impressed.


Does Not Play Well With Others

A number of you in the comments and via email mentioned Stephanie’s Olympic Challenge and asked if I would be participating.

Hey, thanks for asking. It looks like a fun idea. But will I participate? No.

Why? Two reasons.

First of all, gotta tell you, I have no interest whatsoever in the Winter Olympics. Silly me, I was thinking they were held in January, but I have since figured out that they aren’t until next month. I’m betting they don’t start until after the Superbowl, right? (Yes, I know I could find this info very easily with a little online research. I just don’t care.)

Truth be told, I have very little use for sports on television. (Aside: In the interests of full disclosure, I will admit to watching the Redskins game last Saturday. Hey, the King of All Remote Controls was watching it. Well, I watched part of the game. For most of the first half I was in the other room watching cooking shows on public television.) Heck, I have very little use for network television (yeah, I know this is beside the point). The majority of my tv viewing is spent tuned in to Turner Classic Movies.

Yep, I love the Dale Olympic Sweaters. I think they are, for the most part, very pretty. I buy patterns and often yarn for the ones I like. Sometimes I even make them. That is the limit to my interest in the Olympics. I’ve got pattern and yarn for the Dale Torino sweater, but it’s stashed away for future reference.

Second reason for not participating: I do not play well with others. (Ask L-B about the Inishmore Challenge.) And right now I’ve got my own little knitting agenda going on, and I’m sticking to it. Until I decide to change it. If I decide to change it.

Anyhow, this idea spawned some questions about what I consider a knitting challenge.

What could I knit that would challenge me?

Maybe a fair isle slipcover for my car? Nah, my car lives in a garage so I don’t really need a cover for it.

I could attempt to knit an aran house cozy. But I live in a high-rise condo, so I’d have to knit a cozy for the entire condo building, and some of my neighbors might not like that. (Yeah, that’s the only reason why I’m not going to knit a condo cozy.)

I know! I know! Maybe I could knit Shanti an intarsia ship cozy! Nah, she’ll have sailors to do that for her.

All jokes aside, folks, something like Sharon Miller’s Princess Shawl would be a challenge. I did buy the pattern for it. Seriously, how could I not buy a pattern for something described as “one of the most complex Shetland lace patterns ever offered for sale?”

But I have no immediate plans to knit it. Don’t have the lace knitting mojo going on right now. Not only that but, all talk about process knitting aside, I have no earthly use for such a shawl.

(But if you wanna see it being knit, check out The Princess Diairies, a blog by two knitters who are embarking on knitting the Princess Shawl. I was delighted to discover this blog a couple of weeks ago when one of the two knitters mentioned it on her main blog, which I’ve read regularly for years. Years, I tell you!)

Back to the Knitting at Hand

Here’s how the Rose sweater is looking this afternoon.


As you can see, I’m getting into the body pattern.

Rebecca asked (and by the way Rebecca, nice Ingeborg!):
Do you have the entire sweater designed, or are you designing it motif by motif?

The entire sweater is designed. I charted it out beforehand and wrote out the pattern. As I knit, I make any need adjustments to the pattern.

Sarah asked:
I do have a question—how do you like the Louet Pearl? I saw someone who recommended using it for your Baby Norgi pattern and I do love merino so I was curious about your take on the yarn. ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s okay. It has a slightly . . . I dunno . . . stringy? feel while knitting, but if you wash or steam your knitting, it blooms beautifully. I knitted a swatch of my pattern with it before embarking on the sweater and was quite impressed with how nicely it bloomed after a good steam with my trusty iron.

I bought the Louet Pearl because somewhere I read that it was the same yarn as Koigu fingering and I was curious. I don’t think it is the same “base” yarn as Koigu — it feels completely different to me. While it does not suck, I do not find it extremely pleasant to knit — the stringiness irritates my hands somewhat.

Mmmmmm . . . Twisty!

Thanks, Tracy, for this comment:
The twisty legs are called “barley twist” in furniture lingo – as in “oh, does that table have barley twist legs? no? just turned? ok, nevermind”.

And Judith:
Your table has lovely Barley Sugar Twist legs. They are named after the boiled sweets that used to be available in short twisted chunks in the UK (and maybe other places?).

I Googled “Barley Twist” and Barley Sugar Twist” — the terms are apparently interchangeable. I learn something new every day!

I am a huge fan of Barley Twist furniture legs.

I liked Ann’s comment that the table legs look plied. Good thing the twist is balanced, eh? Hyuk! Hyuk, hyuk!

Sandy asked:
I was looking at your table and was wondering what kind of article was holding your spindles.
Is this something you had made or is it available somewhere?


It’s a . . . spindle holder. ๐Ÿ™‚ I bought it on eBay. I don’t think it was commercially made — it was something I saw posted there that I thought would be useful.

I seem to remember seeing something similar available for sale online, but I’m coming up empty with Google searches. I can find spindle lazy Kates, but does anyone know of a spindle storage solution similar to this for sale?

P.S. to Snow

Lucy is looking forward to the next feral holiday! Me? I’m a tad nervous lest she take it too literally.