My current work in progress:

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


Tuesday Twaddle

Wherein I attempt to answer a bunch o’ comments questions.

Jessica asked:
What kind of stitch markers do you prefer for your lacework? I can’t seem to find any that aren’t too big for smaller needles or don’t weigh a ton when I get a bunch of repeats going.

My favorites are the little red rubber rings you can get a bunch of places. Mine came from Patternworks, I think. I’ve also got black and white rubber rings. I generally mark the center paired decreases of the shawl with the black ones, and sometimes the outermost sections of the shawl with the white ones — that way the markers alert me when there’s something different going on from the “regular” lace pattern repeats.

I prefer the rubber ones to metal ones, because I find the metal ones are often tempted to fly off the needle at inopportune moments. The rubber ones are far more obedient (or lazy?) and stay put. I used the smallest size of the markers on my size 6 needles.

Betty J. asked, about the Moth:
Your edges look much more defined than on the Knitspot website. Is that because of the silk/mohair blend? The before blocking pics look hairy. But the post-blocking pics do not. Is it still hairy? Either way, gorgeous!

I don’t think in any of the photos of Moth shawls out in blogland, I’ve seen one that was blocked out the way I did mine. My edges are quite a bit more pronounced, aren’t they? Has anyone else made a moth and blocked it out like mine? Just curious.

The shawl is indeed still hairy. The mohair gives it a lovely fuzzy halo, but fortunately it does not shed. I wore it today over a black dress and there was no shedding whatsoever.

Annie asked:
I keep going over to the website to order the pattern, but hesitate because I’m not sure how difficult it is. I’m pretty new at lace knitting. What is your opinion on the difficulty level? You make it look so easy!

I don’t think that the pattern is very difficult. It is a large undertaking, but there is no single technique used in it that an enthusiastic advanced beginner could not do. The instructions are very clear and easy to follow. Go for it!

Mandella asked:
I’m glad that you wear your shawls, but how do you wear them so they look elegant? Are you just a draper, do you tie them, or do you use shawl pins? I’m asking because every time I put on a shawl my DH says I look like a hippy!

(Pssssst! Go see Mandella’s lovely Lotus Blossom shawl on her blog!)

I firmly believe that there’s nothing wrong with looking like a hippie! Me, I’m just a draper. I will sometimes use a shawl pin with a heavier shawl, but with a very delicate laceweight (like the Moth) I’m afraid I’ll damage it with a pin. I don’t know how “elegant” I look, but my co-workers are used to see me wearing lace shawls. And when it is chilly in the office (more often than not), they look at me enviously!

Teri S. asked:
Do you have another lace project waiting in the wings?

I have the pattern for the Diamond Fantasy Shawl from Sivia Harding and some Handmaiden Sea Silk earmarked for it — but I’m not sure when I’ll knit it. It may be next in the queue. Then again, it might not. ๐Ÿ™‚

Knitnana asked
And what color of Jo Sharp DK Tweed is that you’re using for Keelan? Boheme perchance?


Yep, it’s Boheme!


Emy asked:
Just an OT question, can steeking be done using any non-superwash wool or merino? I am thinking of attempting one!

If you can cut it and it will not unravel willy-nilly, you can steek it. You might want to experiment first. If your yarn has a tendency to unravel when cut, you’ll want to stitch it like a Norwegian steek.

Another consideration is the thickness of the yarn. A steek adds bulk to the armhole. So you generally only want to steek with fairly fine yarns.

Lucy agrees.



  1. Thanks for the dental floss suggestion! You are once again my heroess!

  2. Same here–I wear my shawls around the office and usually get compliments . . . or at least, not disparaging glances! And I drape mine, usually only bother with a shawl pin for the particularly heavy ones, or occasionally, one of the smaller ones if I want to keep it in place. But mostly, if it needs more security than gravity, I’ll tie it.

  3. Wendy in CO says:

    A friend of mine who makes very fine lace taught me a neat trick for marking pattern repeats in my work. She uses a length of sewing thread in a contrasting color with a loop tied in one end between her pattern repeats. You put the loop around the needle, just like a stitch marker and leave the tail hanging. As you knit, the thread ends up inside the fabric, between the stitches. At least it does if your lace is garter-stitch-based. It makes it really easy to see where the pattern repeats, even a few inches down from the knitting. (I usually leave a tail about 8 or 10 inches long.) As you work, the tail follows along happily and when you’re done, you just pull out the threads as you bind off. I like it for making triangular shawls because as I add repeats, I change the color of the new markers. It makes me feel like I’m actually making progress as the shawl gets bigger to see all those colors. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Thanks for the marker tip! I remembered that you had talked about those before after I read it again here. Guess I’ll have to go have a look at the latest patternworks catalog or see if they are coming to Rhinebeck…

  5. Jessica. I have some “o” rings that I bought at the local Ace Hardware that function well as stitch markers and are inexpensive. Take your needles with you and rummage through the bins. You might try those first to see if they work for you.

  6. My goodness, Lucy has a magnificent tail! It looks nearly ar big as she is!

  7. i ove the lookof that blue wool. keelan is gorgeous

  8. It’s astonishing how much Lucy knows about lace. I must say I’ve never been able to get any of my (ex)cats interested enough to learn … although Sasha was quite interested in having Kiri as a bed. (Alpaca/merino/cashmere — good taste!)

  9. Lucy is making an awesome letter E in that photo! Wonder if she’s trying to spell something???

  10. As always, a wealth of information. Thanks for all the good answers. And, once again, you have me headed down the lace path. This time … I think I’m up to it.

  11. Wendy I haven’t seen any other WOTM shaws that blocked out like yours on the edges. Do you think it’s your blocking technique or is your castoff edge looser and maybe it gives you more shaping freedom? I suppose ultimately it IS your blocking technique but the others I’ve seen don’t look like they have the freedom along the edge to do “that thing” that yours does! I love your results and if I do knit the WOTM shawl I’m going to definitely try to achieve your blocked results with the borders!

  12. Ann Carpenter says:

    I too was going to comment on Madame Lucy’s luscious tail. It looks as long as her body. Is it? Don’t you just LOVE pointed cats? We used to breed rare colorpoint Siamese like red-point, torie-point and tabby-point but there is still nothing quite as lovely as the seal. Give her a hug from her friend and yours:
    Ann Carpenter in Dallas, Texas

  13. Wendy, I absolutely LOVE that edging on the shawl! It’s too gorgeous for words!

  14. Hardware stores are a great source of rubber ring markers, either sold as tiny gaskets or o-rings, depending on the clerk. You can also find tiny, thin metal ones and I’ve been known to use those paper reinforcements in a pinch. Also, try a stickpin or lovely hairpin to hold your lace shawls in place. They work well and don’t damage the lace.

  15. Lucy looks like she agrees, but she also looks like she’s ready for some other activity. The Beagle is smelling my leg frantically as if I don’t know what might have gone on there.

    I’m thinking of turning him into a cat.


  16. I used Boheme for my Highland Triangle Shawl. I can’t wait to see Keelan complete…Thanks, Wendy, for answering my question.

  17. This is totally unrelated to shawls, but have you seen The Last Knit video on YouTube? or and search by title. It is a good reminder for us compulsive types.

  18. Quick question… if you do have a shedding mohair how do stop it? A good bath?

    thanks from someone new to mohair

  19. the diamond fantasy shawl is so much fun. I just finished one and it is gorgeous. The pattern is really good and a fun knit. I vote for the diamond fantasy.

  20. Wendy, one of the best resources I’ve found for stitch markers is Karen of Beadmarkers. She has a site at Picturetrail and another at Etsy . . . Here are the URLs:

    I bought markers from her for my knitting group earlier this year, and simply fell in love with her work. Her prices are probably some of the best available (they’re definitely reasonable), she guarantees the markers, they don’t hang, and I’ve yet to have a problem with any of them. Most of her markers are lightweight, and the rings are sized in such a way that they don’t stretch the stitches. She makes different sizes, but what I’ve really appreciated about her has been that she’ll even work with a customer to get precisely what they want. For instance, I needed a batch of markers I could use with lace. Once we figured out what shape worked best for me, she went to town. They just came in this afternoon, and I’m dying to cast on the next shawl and get started.

    Seriously, I love finding vendors who are helpful, friendly, operate like profesionals, and do this kind of quality work. I’d cheerfully recommend her and her markers to anyone.

  21. See, we really are all different. I don’t like the way that rubber rings make my knitting “drag”.

  22. Yep, we’re all different. The rubber rings fly all over creation when I try to use them. I remember liking them in the past, but lately I can’t keep them on the needles.

    And I *loved* the way you blocked the Moth Wing edges. I went right over and bought the pattern after I saw those gorgeous swoops, and I hadn’t been wowed by it previously.