My current work in progress:

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


Lace Talk

Karen B. asked:
I saw this shawl on knit-spot and was sorely tempted. With the clarity of instructions provided, do you think it appropriate for a newbie lace knitter?

While this is a big lace project, if you break it down and just look at it row to row, there’s really nothing too terribly difficult in it. I think an adventuresome beginner lace knitter could knit it, with some patience and perseverence. There are some k3tog and k3tog tbl, and then later on you’ll need to make 5 from one stitch — but that’s the extent of the “tricky bits.”

The pattern includes instructions for a smaller version of the shawl — a scarf — so if you didn’t want to commit to the large shawl, you could make a much smaller version.

Weeza commented:
I have to get one of these done for a friend’s grandmother’s 90th birthday by 1 November. I have knitted precisely one lace shawl previously (well, it had holes in it, anyway). I’m quite worried. Should I give up my job and eating now?

You just need to pace yourself. ๐Ÿ™‚

What I would do if I needed to knit a lace shawl for a deadline:

It’ll go quickly at the start, because the rows are pretty short. When they start to get longer, set yourself a goal of a number of rows per day. You know how many days you have to get it finished. Set an end date a few days before November 1. Then divide the number of rows you have remaining by the number of days you have to knit. And stick to your schedule. If you do more than your set number of rows in a day, it’s a bonus! Just remember that the rows get longer the more you do, so don’t set unreasonable goals towards the end of the knitting. At the start you can do ten or twenty rows a day. Towards the end, you might want to set a goal of just a couple of rows per day.

I’m rooting for you!

Me? I’ve completed three (out of five total) of the twn leaf pattern repeats.


The rows are getting really long at this point, but this particular motif is a lot of fun to knit, so I really don’t mind. Too much.

I didn’t get a whole lot done today because I spent a good part of the afternoon hanging out with a great group of knitters at the Martha Washington Library. We had a very good time. My mom came with me (Hi, Mom!) so that made it double the fun for me.

And this is what Lucy was doing while I was gone:


Clearly she is back in training for the Feline Sleeping Olympics.


  1. Clearly Lucy will recieve the gold!

  2. Every post your shawl is longer and longer and I want to knit one more and more. Thanks for all the pictures! Have I been good enough this year to splurge on bison roving to spin up for it???

  3. The shawl is beautiful.
    I would love to knit one, but I am really not a shawl wearer!

  4. Wendy, that shawl is gorgeous. Did I mention I love that color?

    I still have not knit a lace shawl. But it won’t be long now…I am hopelessly in love with 19 or 20 of the patterns in Cheryl Oberle’s Folk Shawls. The only thing stopping me casting on for one of them is that I have 5 WIPs haunting me at the moment. Must finish off at least 2 of those first. Oh, also I have to decide which shawl to cast on. But that’s the fun part!

    Go Weeza! You can do it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Yes, I trust Lucy will win the gold; she’s training SO VERY HARD ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. THREE out of the FIVE? *sigh* Congratultions.
    Oh, it seems that Lucy and Lulu have been emailing back and forth behind our backs. It looks like Lucy wants to come to Boston for a visit, but you need to knit her a little Kitty Carryall. I think you need to have a talk with your little one.

  7. Meant to say earlier, good luck with your book event tomorrow.


  8. Wendy, it’s looking beautiful!!! The corona is really fun to knit because there is a bit of pattern on the knit and purl rows. It’s lovely.

    A note to Weeza – you can get Moth done in that amount of time, but I’d pick a smaller shawl if you haven’t already started. It gets a bit brutal towards the end even if you have knit a bunch of shawls.

    OK, maybe that’s just me. I’m glad it’s over!

  9. I LOVE photos of sleeping kitties! They always look sooo blissful!

    Nice work on the shawl, too! I’ve been contemplating the Flower Basket Shawl.

  10. I would have loved to meet you at the library, but the pesky working thing got in my way… glad it was fun!

  11. Your Lucy is such a beautiful girl – I enjoy seeing her when I visit your blog. My Gwen nominates her as team captain in the combined event ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Holy moly! How do you make 5 from one stitch?!?

  13. Hate to say it, but Lucy will just kick the competition in the faces when they’re down!
    I’d say she’ll most likely win in snoozing, looking cute, and general shmoozing. Anyone like to start the bets?:D

  14. There is a shawl completion calculation (Excel spreadsheet) in the sidebar of Rose-Kim Knits. Plug in the number of rows in the whole shawl, and you know what percentage you have finished when you’ve finished Row 49 or Row 239.

    The way you could set your goal to finish a certain percetage each day and know how many rows you needed to do.

  15. Your shawl is lovely, as is the yarn.

    I have one other bit of advice for a new shawl knitter, particularly on the long rows. Ripping is fantastically tedious and time consuming (as I unfortunately know from experience). Use lots of markers, and check the number of stitches from time to time between them–or just eyeball them at the end of every row to see that they look ok. It is easier to correct a mistake on the row just finished than to attempt to drop down and fix a problem several rows below (or rip back entirely).

    Do you have any advice for substituting yarns? I have a lot of stash yarn that is about 345 yds for 50g, making it heavier than the yarn you’re using or that many shawl patterns specify. Do you just do fewer repeats if you are using a “fingering” weight? If you don’t really know how big the shawl will be until you block it, how can you decide when to stop when using a different yarn weight? I was going to try some scarf-sized patterns to give as gifts to see how this yarn works, but is there a better way?

  16. Thanks everyone! I will try the calculator but Teh Maths is not my strong point! I am trying a mini-run of the scarf-sized Moth and with my nose 2 inches from the instructions at all times it’s not going too badly… havent got to M5 yet though! Thanks again! ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Lace leaves are fun to knit! They whiz by for me because I’m excited to see them emerge from the pattern.

    I can attest to the long row thing. I knit Frost Flowers and Leaves and toward the end there it was taking me an hour to knit one row. One of these days I may knit it again because I had so much fun doing it, but I copped out and didn’t do all the pattern repeats.

  18. If there was a platimun award, Lucy would have it paws down.

  19. That’s so beautiful, Wendy. The pattern sounds like great fun.

    What Marjorie said about lots of markers (it helps if they’re pretty ones!). A lifeline is useful too.

    I’m working on a shawl based on HeartString’s Riverine pattern. It’s dead simple – just two pattern rows – and would be a great first lace project.

    And a note for Michelle: I wasn’t a shawl wearer either, and now I rarely leave the house without one!

  20. One needs her beauty sleep although I’ll say that Lucy is a natural beauty.

  21. For godz sake, stop torturing me with the beautifulness of that shawl.

    I can’t take it anymore […calls Orbitz}

  22. OR, if you have a deadline, you could knit a shawl which starts at the long edgefirst, so you are knitting all of the longest rows first, i.e. the Rowan Birch shawl..the rows just get shorter and shorter…at the finish it is a piece of cake!

  23. I hope your book event went well. Any plans to visit us out west? -patti

  24. Just beautiful! {{Lucy}}

  25. Do you have a calendar or list of your upcoming knitting/books events?

  26. It was great meeting you yesterday at the Library. So much better than looking at a screen! Love your haircut. Perhaps we’ll run into each other at Knit Happens, and I’ll look forward to your kimono jacket pattern!
    Check out my “baby” blog!

  27. W-o-t-M looks fantastic, Wendy. I love the dragon colorway. Leo and Lucy should compete in the doubles category in the Feline Sleeping Olympics. They’d run away with the gold, hands down.