My current work in progress:

Sundew,by Martin Storey, knit from Rowan Softyak DK, using 3.25mm and 4mm needles.

Archives for January 2006

Clearing Things Up About Filth & Heat

And I chuckled at this comment from Christy:
I can’t stop chuckling at the fear of getting things dirty.
Assuming that you don’t roll around in mud, how dirty could they get? Sure, a little Metro grime may happen to a frequently worn scarf or gloves but washing is a wonder!

Clearly, you haven’t experienced the Washington DC metro system lately.

Touching a handrail when taking the stairs or the escalator (which I have to do 8 times a day 5 days a week) always results in a streak of dirt on one’s hand or glove. Ew. And some stations and trains are pretty filthy. Heck, touch anything and you get dirt all over yourself.

So, no. I’m not too motivated to wear good gloves or mittens on the daily commute. Yeah, I know I can wash them, but I’d rather subject something machine-made to multiple washings.

About the shawls — saying I don’t wear them because I don’t want to get them dirty is not entirely accurate. I always keep a couple of shawls in my office because the temperature there is pretty variable. I am loathe to bring some of the more delicate large shawls to the office (like Tina and Inky Dinky) because I have a tendency to run over the edges of shawls with the wheels on my chair when I’m wearing them. Can’t help it! That’s one reason why I like the Shetland Garden Faroese Shawl so much — it’s short enough so there’s no danger of running over it.

But of course, the office ain’t too clean either.

BJ commented:
Each to her own, but I would rather knit one nice sweater in an inexpensive, but easy-to-care-for yarn such as Wool-Ease than to knit a dozen sweaters out of expensive stuff that I am afraid of.

About all the sweaters I’ve made and haven’t worn? It’s not because I’m “afraid” of wearing sweaters made from “expensive” yarn. It’s too freaking warm this year to wear sweaters. I’d die of the heat in a Wool-Ease sweater as well. Yesterday, January 9, the temperature was 63 freaking degrees! Just a bit cooler today, but it is supposed to be back up in the 60s in the next few days. A lacy lightweight shawl thrown over my shoulders and a pair of wristwarmers is all I need in the office when the temperature is on the chilly side.

Another commenter, Katia, said:
I do not quite understand, why you knit so many items you never wear – not even once. I really do not see the point in spending so much time in creating wearable items if you do never actually wear them.

For me, it has to do with respect – this beautiful garments made of wonderful yarns deserve to be worn. If you do not like to wear knitted garments, sell them, give them away as presents, or go and knit art objects that are not intended to be worn.

My answer?

Process, process, process. And then maybe . . . process.

No, I’m not going to sell them. Some of them I do give away. And who is to say that I don’t consider some of them to be art objects? I consider the Bohus a work of art. And if I were to never wear it, the joy of knitting it and looking at it makes its creation worthwhile for me.

What Susan said comes closest to how I feel:
I’m a process knitter too. My closet and hope chest are stuffed silly with probably between 50 to 60 cardigans, sweaters, shawls, socks, hats, you name it, of gorgeous handknits in good yarns. I knit because I love the process. I knit because I love the finished product, too. But it’s too hot most of the time in northern Florida to wear them. That doesn’t mean I won’t travel though to places where I can. And I just love fair isles and knitting challenges. As well as simple k2,p2 fare. So on I knit. Mostly for myself, cuz knitting big items for folks who receive them as gifts hasn’t always resulted in the appreciation that such items deserve (I’m not speaking lauding of self here, but rather the joy that comes from receiving something handmade. It just wasn’t there.) So I figure only make socks for others. They’re usually appreciated. Even handknits for my kids just weren’t worn. Lesson learned and I continue to knit for self. That doesn’t mean things don’t get given away (like in Wendy’s case). Recently, I hosted two high school graduates for lunch in my home and I let the girls cull through my collection and pick whatever they wanted. (I did put a few items aside as heirlooms for my daughter before letting the girls pick.) That’s the kind of thing I want to do more of. But in the meantime, until such opportunity presents, I – like Wendy – will just knit cuz I love it. When I die, the knits will go somewhere and someone else will enjoy them. Until then, I enjoy just knitting them and looking at them and occasionally wearing them.

Well said, Susan.

The bottom line is that I will continue to knit what I want and do what I want with what I knit. This might not work for you. Do as you like, do what you feel comfortable doing! You other process knitters who weighed in on this issue — don’t feel guilty — knit what you want and revel in the joy that is the process!

Now that we’ve got that settled, on to the current WIP, which may or may not get worn in the forseeable future, depending on the weather.

I have completed the front:


And I have started a sleeve:


A chart question from Laura:
What I want to know is if you memorize charts when you knit? Do you keep them handy and glance? When or if you do have them memorized, do you count as you knit?

I do memorize charts. For an easy chart (and I consider the chart for the Halcyon Aran to be easy), I usually memorize it on the first pattern repeat.

The largest pattern repeat on the Halcyon Aran is the center cable, which consists of 24 rows. Once one pattern repeat is done, it’s easy — you can see which direction the strands of the cable go and how they cross each other. I have not used a row counter while knitting the front and back of this. I do keep the pattern nearby — should I have a momentary lapse of reason, I can look at the chart.

Now, the sleeve is dead simple. It has two simple cables on either side of the 12 row repeat cable that’s on the outermost edges of the front and back. When I started the sleeve I looked at the pattern to see the number of stitches, how to set up the pattern, and the rate of sleeve increases. I’ll likely not look at the pattern again until I need to cast off and do the saddle.

Laura also asked:
I also really do want to know what Sue E. is going to do with her 5 skeins of Kureyon, because every time I decide what to do with my 5 bought on a whim, I change my mind! 😀 Five skeins are just enough to do something fun, but what? I’d like to know, What Would Wendy Do?

What would Wendy do with 5 skeins of Noro Kureyon? Give them away! 😉

Or maybe make a couple of Booga Bags. Or hold it double and make a kitty bed.

Lucy Sez:


“Kitty bed? Now you’re talking!”

2005 Knits Review

Penny commented:
I’d be interested in a retrospective evaluation of, say, the garments you’ve knitted in the last year or two: which ones do you still like a lot, which (if any) turned out to be duds, etc. Or perhaps this issue doesn’t apply because it’s the process, not the product, that matters most? I think your insights would be instructive.

And Lori asked:
While you are answering questions, I was wondering what you do with all of your wonderful finished objects. Do you give a lot of them away as gifts or do you just own a very good selection of sweaters? I have recently been pondering one of my first sweaters that I made in high school. While it was nicely knit it was made out of cheap acrylic yarn and I never wear it. I don’t know if I should let it go. Do you ever “let any of your finished object go” after some time?

Heh! Since you ask, here’s 2005 in review. This is most of the stuff I knitted in 2005 — I left out some of the small projects.

Sonata Gloves — I’ve never worn them because I don’t want to get them dirty. I am lame, no?
Grape Arbor Shawl — sample knitted for my upcoming book. I gave the sweater to my mom after the photo shoot.
Fingerless Mitts — happily worn last winter. I’ve not worn them this winter because it hasn’t really been cold enough.
Lucy Sweater — sample knitted for my upcoming book. I gave the sweater to the model after the photo shoot.
Mohair Scarf — happily worn last winter. I’ve not worn it this winter because it’s a very warm scarf and it hasn’t been cold enough.
Kinsale — have not yet worn.
Fir Cone Scarf — sample knitted for my book — never worn.
Vince — sample knitted for my book — never worn.
Rebecca Wrap Cardi — given away as a birthday gift.
Melody — sample knitted for my book — never worn.
Revised and Improved Kitty Bed — sample knitted for my book — Lucy tested and approved.
Deli (Rowan) — worn once and I don’t like it — too big. My own fault.
Tennis Sweater (Debbie Bliss) — not yet worn.
Laci Cardi — not yet worn.
Aurora — not yet worn.
Mahi Mahi tank — not yet worn.
Inishmore — not yet worn.
Deborah Newton Lace Shawl — worn a number of times. Love it!
Tina Shawl — worn once — love it but don’t want to get it dirty.
Peacock Feathers Shawl — never worn — given away as a prize
Inky Dinky spider Stole — worn once — love it but don’t want to get it dirty.
Shetland Garden Faroese Shawl — worn a number of times. Love it!
Autumn Woodland Shawl — given away as a birthday gift.
Vårblommor Shawl — not yet worn.
Dew (Kim Hargreaves) — not yet worn.
Hourglass Sweater — not yet worn.
Skye — not yet worn.
Debbie Bliss Ribbed Sweater — worn once but too warm for inside wear!
Vinternatt Mittens — donated to charity.
Mermaid — not yet worn.
Poor Little Qiviut Scarf — not yet worn.
Frostrosen Mittens — not yet worn.
Skeppsta — worn once so far — I like it!
Kolsva — not yet worn.

So there you have it. Most of my poor knits languish unworn, but for the most past not unloved. Some are given as gifts. I can see from this list that my lace shawls get the most use.

So far we are having a very mild winter, so I’ve not felt like wearing sweaters. Well, no matter. I am, after all, a process knitter.

So here’s my process-progress report on the Halcyon Aran.


Still working on the front. I didn’t do much knitting last night because I kept dozing off. Today was my first day back to the office since December 22 and I was hoping that said dozing off was an indication of a nice long night’s sleep. I was wrong.

But, I did knit during my commute and at lunchtime, so some progress was made. I am cabling without a cable needle, as per usual, so that makes things move a bit faster.


Lucy Sez


Lucy would like to apologize for her Momma’s stupid joke in yesterday’s blog entry. But isn’t her cousin Sami a handsome boy?


Her cousin KoKo ain’t half bad either!


Post Project Depression?

Maus commented:
I always wondered, you go so seamlessly (no pun intended) from one project to the next. Not to speak of the speed with which you do that, but do you not experience the slightest bit of “finished project slump”? Hard to explain what I mean. But whenever I finish a larger piece like a sweater or cardi, it seems I need like a day or so to “rest”. More mentally than anything else. Its like a block that ocurrs before I can go on to other things.

I don’t often suffer from PPD (Post Project Depression), I think, because I’ve always got in my head what I’m going to knit next before I’m halfway done with a current project. In the case of my current WIP, I had planned the project after this one before I started this one.

So I’m always looking forward to the next knit, and always cast on immediately for the next project as soon as I’ve finished one.

But I do know what you are talking about. There have been a few times in the past (the last time being last May) when I’d not made a clear plan in my head about what the next project would be and had some fairly severe PPD as a result.

And I do suffer from this on work projects. When I’ve been working on something extremely time- and thought-consuming at the office and the project is brought to completion, I feel at loose ends.

But nine times out of ten, something else pops up immediately.

Knitwad commented:
Today, in the car, I was musing over the question of what you’ll knit next and wondering how you decide. It seems that, like Oprah, your choice of projects could really benefit a designer or a yarn manufacturer both financially and creatively.
Do you consider this when choosing what projects to tackle? Do you perhaps knit projects and not blog about them because you don’t want to draw attention to a designer or yarn that you’d rather not endorse? Or, the opposite – do you choose a project because you really do want to honor a designer or manufacturer?
I don’t mean to cast any asparagus (aspersions) your way or to challenge your decision-making process but I wonder if your blogging fame hampers/enhances your choice of projects? I also wonder if any designers or manufacturers have encouraged you to blog about their projects/yarns and how you handle that sort of thing. The more readers you get the larger this issue might become – I can see it evolving into the type of endorsement schemes that professional athletes have going.

Short answer? No.

I knit what I want when I want (please refer to the Bad-Ass Knitter Manifesto Principle One). The only time I don’t blog about something I am knitting is when I am knitting a gift for someone who I know reads my blog. This blog is a personal, non-commercial venture.

If I didn’t want to draw attention to a partucular designer or yarn, the only reason would be because I didn’t like a particular pattern or a particular yarn, and therefore I wouldn’t be knitting that designer’s pattern or with that yarn.

I don’t knit with yarn because a manufacturer has asked me to. I knit with a yarn because I like it and/or it’s right for a project. If I knit with a yarn and don’t like it, I’ll say so. I only knit patterns I want to. I don’t think I’d be able to drag myself through knitting a pattern that doesn’t appeal to me.

I hope this answers your questions.

So, on to the current WIP. I finished the back. I took a photo, but it was crappy and I don’t feel like taking another. So here’s one of the start of the front.


Lucy Gets a Haircut?


Who knew she was so sleek and tiny under all that fur?

Just kidding. That’s Sami, one of my parents’ Siamese kitties. Lucy is as fluffy as ever!


Lucy sez: “Fluffy is as fluffy does.”

From Colorwork to Cables

Thanks, Margene, for the title suggestion!

I spent a good part of the day at Knit Happens (I don’t return to work until Monday) and here’s my progress on the Halcyon Aran:


Actually, that’s the third photo I took. Here’s the first one:


Those would be Holly’s fingers at the top, and Lara’s fingers at the right. Then one of those two got the bright idea to pull a Vanna:


And here’s Lara feigning innocence:


Look! She’s knitting so fast her hands are a blur!

In the comments, Pam asked:
How do you choose the yarn you will use for a given project? There are only a few that you have used more than once.

In this case, the yarn and pattern were a gift, so that saved me choosing.

But usually, it’s a matter of a certain yarn catching my eye for whatever reason. I like using a heathered or tweed yarn for arans, but you don’t want too much variegation or the texture stitches will be obscured.

You also want a yarn that is sturdy enough to show the texture stitches. Nothing too soft or drapey. For a hardy aran pullover, you want a hardy aran yarn. If you are unsure, get one skein of the yarn and swatchez-vous some cables.

The photos today are not great — the cables show up in this yarn much better than the pictures show. It’s very hard, I find, to take good photos of a dark yarn and have the texture stitches show up well.

Cassie commented:
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the flax/wool blend. I’ve been tempted but wondered if it would hold up without sagging and also if it was hard on the hands.

I really like this yarn — it has the look of a sturdy, beefy aran yarn, but is quite soft to the touch. Despite it’s soft hand, it knits a fine cable.

There are lots of bits of straw in the yarn, but if you don’t mind picking them out (and I don’t), this yarn is great for arans.

Suzanne asked:
How does the Aran pattern you are working on compare with all of the Starmore Arans you have done? I find the Starmore patterns to be heavenly in the logic and detail she includes in her patterns. Is this pattern similar?

I’d equate this to one of Starmore’s less complex arans — like St. Enda or Na Craga. The pattern is well-written, and the charts are excellent.

Imbrium asked:
Does that Holly Spring Homespun have a destiny yet, or is it stash enhancement? It is indeed a lovely colorway.

It has a destiny — a lace design still in the planning stages.

Kim asked:
The Aran is going to be beautiful! But I have to ask…what happened to Bettna?

Nothing happened to Bettna. It’s still in the WIP list in my sidebar. I’ve simply ceased work on it for the time being.

See? Even though I have the “one WIP at a time rule” I allow myself exceptions. Just because.

Lucy Sez:


I got some much needed rest today while Momma was out at the yarn shop!

A Bit More on Bohus


To answer some questions in the comments . . .

Lene asked:
Does it feel good? Did it turn out the way you expected?

And Shelda asked:
Is it super warm?

And Cat asked:
How does it feel against the sensitive Norwegian skin? T-neck or no?

It feels wonderful and it turned out exactly as I expected. It is warm, but not horrendously so. Even though it’s a warm yarn — angora/merino blend — it’s not too hot because the gauge is so fine.

It feels wonderful against the skin — though that’s Swedish, not Norwegian skin — but that’s a minor point 😉 — but I’ll probably wear a short-sleeve t-shirt under it when I wear it. I don’t like to wear wool directly against the skin.

Mary asked:
Did you order other kits?

By the way, go visit Mary’s blog and see her lovely Blue Shimmer in progress!

Mary, I have the kit for the Large Collar. But I may need to get the Blue Shimmer at some point as well.

Phyl asked:
Did you seam it too? How can you do that so very quickly?

Why, yes, Phyl-Phyl, I did seam it. I mattress stitched it under my beloved Ott light, which was a big help. The color is dark, and it’s been cloudy and rainy here, so good light was a must. It took me two full hours to seam.


Susanna asked:
Any comments on the knitting or assembly? Anything you would change or do differently if you make another one? What size did you make? Did you have enough yarn?

Susanna, the pattern was great, and I thank you for the translation! The yoke was great fun to knit, and I didn’t mind (too much) slogging through the miles of stockinette stitch. It made for good tv and movie knitting. I made the 44″ size because I like a good bit of ease in my sweaters, and I’ve got probably enough yarn leftover to make a pair of mittens.


I wouldn’t change a thing. I like the way the design is constructed, and I like the bit of shaping in the body. I think the sweater is very flattering.

So . . . What Now?



This is the Halcyon Aran, from Lisa Lloyd Designs. I’m making it in Harrisville Flax & Wool, which is 20% flax and 80% wool in the color “Moss,” knitted on US size 5 and 7 needles. The yarn and pattern were Christmas gifts from L-B, who thoughfully mailed them, along with a number of my purchases made during our yarn crawl.

Speaking of our yarn crawl, here’s some lovely laceweight silk I bought at Holly Spring Homespun:


Isn’t the colorway lovely? It’s called “Envy.”

I envy Lucy her ability to sleep through anything.