My current work in progress:

Benedict, designed by Michele Wang, knit from Rowan Softknit Cotton in the Cocoa colorway, on a U.S. size 6 and 8 needle.

Archives for August 2006

Weird is the New Normal

Thank you, Firefly, for today’s blog title.

I am loving knitting with Sea Silk. It is extremely soft and pleasant, and it slides effortlessly over the needle with nary a split or a snag. I think it’s going to make a wonderfully drapey wrap.

Beate asked:
One question: If you knit a garter stich edging, doesn’t it pull the lace pattern in – because of different row gauge? I am thinking of knitting a lace wrap myself and would like your opinion re. a garter or seed stitch border/edging.

A very good question indeed. Garter stitch “pulls in” much more than stockinette stitch so the row gauge is higher — you need more rows of garter sttich than stockinette to make an inch.

However. (“However” is just a fancy “but,” you know.)

The Sea Silk is fingering weight and the recommended needle is a 3mm — a U.S. size 2, with a gauge of 28 stitches to 4 inches. I’m knitting it on a 3.75mm needle — a U.S. size 5. My resulting knitted fabric is quite soft. The garter edges naturally open up and expand to accomodate the body of stockinette they surround. Even without me tugging on it, the piece does not pull in at the edges.


And thanks to the comments from Gale and Liz, we know that Sea Silk blocks out well, so the edges will undoubtedly stay nice and even after blocking.

Now if I were knitting this at the recommended gauge and with the recommended needle, I’d be getting a much firmer fabric, and I bet the garter stitch would pull in.

Jacinta commented:
I have just finished a very simple crochet shawl in the sea silk, I used two skeins and it didn’t go as far as I thought, I am a bit doubtful whether you will have enough yarn for your wrap?

Hmmmmm, I have 800 meters of Sea Silk. (I convert that to 875 yards, because I am a sad American who is still unable to think in meters.) Several years ago I made the Kimono Shawl from Cheryl Oberle’s book Folk Shawls in Koigu, also a fingering weight yarn (though slightly heavier than Sea Silk, I think). The Kimono Shawl calls for 1000 yards. I remember knitting my Kimono Shawl shorter than the pattern directed, and even then, it blocked out huge.

Doesn’t crochet take more yarn than knitting, generally speaking? Of course, everything is relative, and depends on one’s personal preferences in shawl length. I want something long enough to comfortably wrap around myself in my sub-arctic office. I won’t realy know about the Sea Silk until I’ve finished the first skein. and I won’t really REALLY know until after I block it!

Wendy asked:
I have just completed a Clapotis using Lion & Lamb in the Aslan colourway. I am not happy with the finished product. Maybe the Clapotis is just not my thing, but I had the yarn for the project for ages and decided to go with it.

I am going to rip it and was looking for a suggestion for a shawl/wrap? Most of the patterns I have are for lighter weight yarns. Can you help me out again? I am also wondering how the Lion & Lamb will fare after having been blocked, undone, washed and rewound….hmmm.

Shawls in heavier weights. You could always go the route of a simple shawl and the shawl formula that L-B showed me a couple of years ago. I used that to make a stripey shawl out of my first handspun, all worsted weight.

Or check out Cheryl Oberles’ book, Folk Shawls, which I mentioned above. A few of the shawls in there work with heavier weight yarns. I made the Highland Triangle Shawl out of Henry’s Attic Montana, which is a heavier yarn.

Sockish Stuff

Michelle asked:
Other than Lucy’s colourway, what is your favorite sock yarn to knit with…colour aside…just material!

I like sock yarns that are Koigu-y in feel — the sproingy, squishy ones. I like to knit them and I like to wear them!

Lucy sez:


Well of course my colorway is her favorite!

P.S. If you haven’t already, go to Romancing the Yarn and enter their contest! Yes, I realize that I’m lessening my chances of winning by telling some of you who may not know about it. But I’m just a sweetheart like that, ya know?

Fir Cones!

All is revealed! My Sea Silk is being knitted into a rectangular wrap using the traditional shetland lace fir cone motif.


It’s a design (if you can call it that — it’s really simple) that I cooked up myself. I wanted something fairly simple because the yarn is handpainted, and would therefore obsure a complex lace pattern. A nice all-over pattern seemed like the way to go.

The colorway looks very “woodsy” to me, so I thought of fir cones. I started out with a plain garter stitch band, and I’m doing an inch or so of garter stitch on each side as I knit. The body of the wrap is stockinette lace. I really like the fir cone motif. It’s simple to knit and easy to memorize, but not so simple that I lose my mind knitting it.


I have two skeins of Sea Silk, which is a total of 800 meters. I am throwing caution to the winds and not alternatiing skeins, but will knit up one skein and then start the other.

Theresa asked if it was striping, as it looked that way in yesterday’s pic. No, not really — now that I have a bit more knitted I can see that.

Has anyone blocked Sea Silk? I’m curious how it will turn out. Currently, this is what the wrong side looks like.


Kinda how I picture the terrain on Mars to be.

I don’t think the Fir Cone needs a strenuous blocking, but it does need something to smooth out those mountains. It’s possible that a careful once-over with the iron will take care of it.

Ribbon & Fabric Source?

Nadya asked:
Do you have a good place on-line where you buy your ribbon?

No, not really, I just surf around. The brown ribbon I’m waiting on was purchased off eBay.

Pam asked:
Do you buy your silk fabric online (to line your bags) or do you use G Street Fabrics or some such local place? Our local fabric stores seem to run long on cotton and polyester – real silk I don’t expect to find.

I’ve been buying my fabrics online (see above).

Now, if G Street Fabrics were still actually on G Street, I could go there, during my lunch hour. For grins, I checked out G Street Fabrics’ current locations on their website.

Given the traffic in this area, a trip out to the store in Centreville Virginia (Route 66 — eek!), Rockville, Maryland (The Beltway — eek!), or Woodbridge, Virginia (I-95 — eek!) is simply out of the question. The horror!

I have actually been to both the Centreville and Rockville stores, but in both cases I was in the area for another reason. But I loved the old G Street location and really wish it were still there.

I will admit that the Seven Corners location is not all that far from me, but to get there, I have to do the dreaded “Route 7 plow” up from Alexandria. I try to avoid Route 7 as much as possible.

This is a rather long involved way of saying I buy stuff online. While there are a lot of resources in the Washington DC area, I can almost always come up with a good reason for not actually going there. The number one reason is traffic. If I were flitting about at 11:00am on a weekday, well, that would be one thing. But for me, it’s just not worth the time and aggravation of trying to fight my way through rush hour or weekend traffic when the internet is right there.


In yesterday’s photo of Lucy, she was sitting in her Colinette kitty bed, with my Colinette AbFab afghan hanging on the chair behind her.


Usually when she’s in her Colinette kitty bed, she looks like this:


Mmmmmmm . . . Soap!

Yeah, some people love cilantro, and some people think it tastes like soap. Does it make me weird that I think it tastes like soap and love it?

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Thank you for all your comments and suggestions about my prototype mitten. I didn’t explain why I don’t think it works. Yes indeedy, it certainly could use some embellishment, but the problem is more basic than that. It’s just totally wrong in the yarn and gauge I used. I may try to rework it using different yarn because I like the idea of a top down mitten that starts with the same construction as a toe-up sock.

Judy asked in the comments if I know of a good simple pattern for a “toe-up” mitten. Does anyone know of one? I don’t, which is one of the reasons why I was tinkering with my own.

But for now it is on the back burner. Simmering.

Cat’s Paw!

Last night I looked in some lace books for the cat’s paw motif. Clearly, there’s more than one way to knit a cat’s paw. Here are a few I found:


Gillian asked about my charting software. I’m using Stitch & Motif Maker V. 3.0 to do my charts.

Janet asked:
I know I must sound pretty stupid, but what do the symbols stand for on your cat’s paws chart? I would love to try it on my next pair of socks!

That is so not a stupid question! And I note that I used slightly different symbols in today’s chart, to further confuse matters. 🙂

Anyhow, the blank square are knit, the little circles are yarnovers, and the symbol that slants like this — / — is a k2tog. The one that slants the other way — \ — is an ssk.

And the one in today’s chart that sorta looks like a tiny tripod is sl1, k2tog, psso.

Noni Bag!


By the way, here is the felted Noni bag that I knitted last weekend. I was referring to it as my “Noni Knock-Off” but after knitting it, I looked at the Noni Carpet Bag pattern and discovered that I knit it almost exactly to the specifications of the Medium Carpet Bag. Duh. So it shall from this moment on be known as the Noni Medium Carpet Bag.

I bought plastic canvas to give it some structure, I’ve got pink silk to line it, and I’ve got brown braided handles (that appear to be constructed from straw, mainly).

I also have a pink flower and some leaves.

I’m waiting on the brown grosgrain ribbon I need to make the loops to attach the handles to the bag, then I can get this bad boy finished.

Sea Silk!

Karen B. asked about my Sea silk:
Does yours have a distinctive aroma of seaweed or fish? Just wondering…

Mine does have a distinct aroma, but it’s an aroma I associate with silk more than with seaweed. Though the aroma of silk could be considered fishy or seaweedy, if you were in that frame of mind, I think. What do you all think? I know this sort of thing varies from person to person, kinda like how cilantro tastes to you.

(Do you like cilantro? Or do you think it tastes like soap?)


I started knitting something with my Sea Silk (which is in the Paris colorway). Here it is.


Lucy seems intrigued.


The Lucy Sock

The first Lucy sock is done.


I showed it to a non-knitting coworker today who said “Cool — and you have little pawprints knitted into it.” I was highly impressed that she recognized the pattern as being pawprints.

As I mentioned yesterday, the lace pattern is the traditional shetland lace “cat’s paw” motif. At least I think it is, because I drew up a graph for it from memory:


I’m doing the leg over 68 stitches, so the 17-stitch repeat is one-fourth of a round. I did the foot over 64 stitches, so when I did the cat’s paw pattern, I started in at stitch 2 on the first repeat, and ended with stitch 16 on the second repeat, because I was doing the pattern on only the top half of the sock.

Lucy checked the sock carefully and she gives it two paws up.


The Mystery Item

Pay no attention to the safety pin.

I often put a safety pin on items that I knit in the round to mark the beginning of the round and to mark my progress from the beginning. Now, if y’all had been hanging on to my every word, you would know that, because I mentioned it on the blog a while back. Heh.

Anyhow, some of you guessed right — the mystery item is a mitten.


It’s a top down mitten with a silly ruffle around the wrist, knitted from Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport on 3.25mm needles.


I came up with the idea because of Dave’s Bitchin’ Mittens project. However, as I am not overly enamoured of the results, I doubt I’ll knit the second mitten.

But I’ve got some ideas for improvement so Mitten 2.0 may appear at some point.

Lucy Sez


It’s exhausting work being an international superstar.

Me? I’m thinking about starting something new . . .


Lucy J., International Cat of Mystery

Lucy was very pleased to see all the positive comments about the Socks That Rock “Lucy” colorway. She would like you all to know that despite being an international superstar, she enjoys the simple pleasures of life.


Here she is, spending some quality time with her daddy, who is reading to her from Knitting Nell.

A good weekend was had by all. There was a tiger sock sighting!


And speaking of socks, I finished the Kool-Aid socks.


And speaking of socks, I started my Lucy socks.


I am using a size 2mm needle and employing the shetland lace “Cat’s paw” motif on these socks — I’ve put it on the top of the foot.


After turning the heel, I am continuing it all the way around the sock up the leg.

I also finished knitting my “Noni-Knock-Off” bag.


Felting this afternoon!

Now, can anyone guess what this perverse little item will become?