My current work in progress:

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


A Day in the Life


Still life, with sock in progress and gala apple.

Saturday morning, the fluorescent light in my kitchen started flickering out. Now, I bought my condo in 1994 and since that time have had to change the fluorescent bulbs in the kitchen exactly twice, the last time being December 25, 2000.

This involves standing on a step-stool, swearing, while fiddling with the bulbs until the pop out, then fiddling with the new bulbs until they pop in. Swearing.

So Saturday morning, the KOARC and I spent a bit of time figuring out how to get the plastic cover off the light fixture, and commenced fiddling with the bulbs. After a few minutes of fiddling, the KOARC did a Google search on how to change a fluorescent bulb, and getting the bulbs out was pretty easy after that. Amazing what some instructions can do for you. Gotta love a guy who Googles.

While we had the bulbs out, the KOARC checked out the ballast:


A couple of wires were loose, so he tightened them up. After a trip to Home Despot for new bulbs . . . there was light!


Of course, with these nice new bulbs, I can see all the dirt in the kitchen.

But Wait! There’s More!

I got the skein of Kidsilk Haze I needed to complete the Maltese Shawl in the mail on Thursday. I had about one quarter of the edging left to do. So Friday night and Saturday afternoon, I sucked it up and knit shawl edging.



This is the shawl without blocking. Looking at it pre-blocking, it really seemed as though it did not need a full wet block. So I ran a steam iron over it.


I do think that’s all it needs.


So I folded it up and set it aside until the time it will be presented to its new owner.


Can you believe Lucy slept through all that excitement?



  1. Cathy-Cate says:

    What a weekend! Lights, camera, shawl!
    And still life (still lives?) of socks, fruit, and Cozy Cushion Princess!
    Stay warm–

  2. Beautiful finished shawl, wish I was a lucky recipient! Still, it inspires me to work on one for myself. I’ve only completed one shawl thus far and it went to my mother for Christmas. I was worried what her reaction would be, but when she opened the package she thought it was beautiful and as she used to knit years ago said, “And I know how long this took you!” Definitely made all the hard work worthwhile. Hope your friend loves hers as much. Kisses to Lucy from Nimue and Egbert… I’m sending warm weather wishes from California, hope they get to you!

  3. The shawl is absolutely lovely! It just may inspire me to do some lace knitting. I’m usually seen with bulky wool and big needles but we’ll see. I have knit a cashmere shawl for my mother at her request and purchase of the yarn but that was with a basic openwork repeat. She loves it so we’ll keep that it could have been lacier between us. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I`ve seen many pictures of lace on blogs before, but the picture of your shawl draped over the chair is the first time I`ve ever stopped and said to myself “I`ve got to make something like that one day…..”

  5. Absolutely Beautiful!!

  6. Your shawl is beautiful!

  7. Very nice shawl, and not bad on the lights, either!

    Quick (or maybe not) question for you: what system or systems (if any) do you use for storing and organizing your knitting needles? It seems to me that what works for straights isn’t quite right for DPNs and neither works for circulars. And there’s 17 kazillion lengths to deal with. Then add criteria like keeping them clean, away from hazards (e.g. cats, kids, handymen) quickly findable, easily stowed, and from being hazards themselves. In a perfect world, my needles would meet all the above critera and be in one place (well, except for those needles in use). In this imperfect world, mine are all over the place in vases, mugs, pencil pouches, drawers, and rolls (not the edible kind!). Hope this is a new question; if not, can you point me to an answer since I haven’t read your whole blog yet. Thanks!

  8. The shawl is gorgeous. And so long. It’s a good thing knitters and blessed with an extraordinary amount of patience.
    I’m sure Lucy was thrilled, but I find cats often decide to celebrate exciting news by taking extra good naps as a reward.

  9. Maltese is gorgeous! Is it a wedding gift? I appreciate learning about steam blocking and I imagine all that pinning for Maltese would be hard on one’s back. Beautiful lace work!

  10. anne marie in philly says:

    maltese reminds me of a bridal gown train. spectacular!

    meredith and steven say: “lucy, HOW could you sleep through all that activity? why were you not supervising mommy and daddy in the kitchen?”

    as for the dirt, leave it alone. the minute you remove it, it only comes back to haunt you. and why waste time cleaning when there’s knitting/eating/drinking to be done? LOL ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Lucy didn’t help you block?! Unbelievable! ๐Ÿ™‚ Maltese Shawl looks gorgeous.

    Also, I laughed right out loud: we call Home Depot “Home Despot” as well!

  12. The shawl is just Heavenly. What a beautiful luxury for the new owner.

    And the light! heh Don’t you just love things tht last that long to prevent all the necessary swearing from happening more often!?

  13. Absolutely gorgeous! And so long! Wow!

  14. Oh I envy the lucky person who will be gifted with the Maltese Shawl. Gorgeous! How long is the shawl? Do you have another lace project in mind?

  15. The shawl is wonderful!

  16. PICAdrienne says:

    Oh, how pretty. Such a lovely, lovely shawl. It may not have been an intriguing knit for you, but it was well worth your time.

    For me, it is better if my cats are not enthralled with whatever I am doing with yarn. They are generally really good about it, but every so often they feel the need to prove they are cats.

    Now, onward with Cromarty…I can’t wait to see it all finished up, it is as lovely in a very different way.

  17. Your Maltese shawl is gorgeous!

    And, the teal color of your Cromarty is heavenly, as are the cables, etc!

  18. Wow, it is beautiful! Such a soft colour and I can almost feel its softness through the photographs. I had a question, though: aren’t you worried that the mohair will fuzz and then obscure the intricate lace pattern? I made a smaller lace stole (also designed by Jane Sowerby, and it had a similar edging!) sometime back with Brooks Farm 100% mohair and within a few weeks it was unrecognizable and required repeated reblocking.(am not even going to talk about the mohair bits in my eyes). Does Kidsilk behave better?

  19. What a fabulous shawl!! What a work of art! But.. can’t hold a candle to the lovely Lucy! Really, makes me want to knit a shawl, but I don’t think I’d have the patience!

    Ain’t it grand to fix fluorescent lights? We have recessed lighting in our living room and you should hear the language that comes out of the Lord and Master’s mouth when it comes time to change’em! Thank goodness we don’t have to change them too often!

    Love the new socks and photo composition! Stay warm! luv.m.

  20. Wendy, it’s beautiful! Certainly worth all the grief. Lucky recipient is right…

    Hee hee…Home Despot! ๐Ÿ˜€

  21. Oh, I am interested in how you store your yarns & tools of the trade, too, like circular knitting needles, dpns (& how you label them), stitch markers, etc. What kind of stitch markers do you use?

    Many thanks for all of your help

  22. If you kept me that comfy, I’d sleep through anything. Your shawl is breathtaking! Seems no matter how they’re blocked, they always put on a magic show. Happy weekend!

  23. That shawl is huge – I don’t think I’ve ever seen one so big! It looks beautiful, though. I hope the recipient appreciates all your hard work, especially with the edging. I’ve got an embryonic Sharon Miller shawl as a neglected WIP and you’re starting to make me feel the love again.

    The still life is attractive too. That apple’s a darn good match.

  24. Oh, man, that shawl is beautiful. It is flowing and translucent, and amazing. I feel a bit awestruck. Congratulations! Also on getting the fluorescent lights fixed up. Hate that kind of finicky stuff.

  25. The shawl is beautiful. I started it, but after 6 inches, I just was not enjoying it at all. I worked a couple more inches and then recycled the yarn. It just was not giving me any joy.
    P. S. I steam block all my lace. Persistence is all it takes, although long fingernails are useful as well.

  26. The shawl is gorgeous and inspiring.

    Gee, I knit two scarves this weekend in simple lace patterns – 2inches by 12 inches for my daughter’s doll and son’s stuffed dog. I picked up a Barbara Walker stitch book and found something really simple. I figured if I had to do these “projects” I might as well learn something from it. Not sure if the kids appreciated the extra effort ๐Ÿ˜‰

    How long is the shawl?

    Could you explain steam blocking to those of us who have never done lace?

  27. Are you tired of hearing the word “beautiful” yet?

  28. Oh, wow. You made that just for me! the B.O.W.

  29. The sock color looks wonderful, the apple looks delicious, the shawl is SPECTACULAR, the new light bulbs are great, and of course… Lucy is just ADORABLE!!!

  30. That’s the advantage of being a cat. You have staff to do things like change light blubs and so you can spend the day napping.

    Sally – my 18 year old Tuxedo cat wishes to thank you for suggesting the self-heating pad. She just loves it.

  31. Question for Lucy-
    Have you moved from your cushion for anything other than nutrition and the occassional potty breaks?? It seems that every time we see you know you are almost always curled up on the cozy cushion.

    The shawl is absolutely beautiful. It would take more patience than I have right now to do something so intensive. I do know that the effort is worth it, though.

  32. You sure are a tough act to follow, but I’m trying!
    This shawl for my sister’s 50th birthday is getting tedious!
    The Maltese is gorgeous and I really like the edging.
    I’d rather be knitting cables, though.

  33. Not to sound repetetive or anything, but:

    Gorgeous (lace)!
    Adorable (Lucy)!
    Home Despot (tee hee)!

  34. Well, the marathon knitting was well worth it! The shawl is wonderful. The recipient will be gobsmacked!!

  35. Of course Lucy slept through it all — none of its beauty or comfort is destined for her pleasure. It’s truly a work of art (Lucy is well taken care of in other ways, I know).

  36. I can’t believe you’re giving it away! It’s stunningly beautiful. If you’re still in the charitable mood, email me and I’ll send you my address.:)

  37. The shawl is stimply stunning, Wendy. How long is it from end to end? It looks half a mile long draped over that chair!

  38. The shawl is gorgeous! But that picture of Lucy with the balls of yarn in the background? Priceless.

  39. Oh my gosh, your shawl is beautiful. It almost looks ghostly or otherworldly draped over your chair!!!!!

  40. Love the shawl. So many times you see lace shawls that are just too small. Yours is perfect!

  41. That shaw is sooooo pretty. Who ever gets it is one lucky person.

    Wow Lucy slept through all that excitement. She must of had a hard day. ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. Ohhhh how lovely! The shawl looks as though it would float away if you let go of it.

  43. When my husband replaced some bulbs in our kitchen lights, I immediately regretted it, since I saw all the dirt, too!!!

    I am a definite fan of the new colorway for the sock, Wendy. I gotta say, I wasn’t so much for the last couple of pairs, but hey! Ain’t my knittin’ time. ๐Ÿ™‚ This one is very pretty and cozy-looking.

    All the best and regards to Lucy from Bug the Maine Coone out here in CA.

  44. Dear Wendy, I hope the “new owner’ is a football coach so that s/he can drape it over the length of the field. Dang, that thing looks long! Very gorgeous, but L-O-O-O-O-O-N-N-N-G-G-G-G!!!!! Lots of knitting and lots of caring in it.

  45. Congratulations on finishing the shawl! It turned out beautiful. What a lucky friend you have that will get such a beautiful shawl!!

    I love that color of Claudia! I have some Claudia but mine is all pinks if I remember correctly. I may just have to run down to my LYS and get a shade that has as many colors mixed in as yours. I love variegated sock yarn that doesn’t pool. (My Lorna’s Laces is pooling something awful so I am envious of yours!)

  46. I bought my house in 1994 and have never replaced the fluorescent bulb in the kitchen, over the sink. And it runs all day and night, 24/7 — I never turn it off. I think I need to call the Guiness Book folks.

    The shawl is stunning. I can’t imagine a lovelier gift for a bride. Kudos. ๐Ÿ™‚

  47. do you keep all your shawls to give away someday all folded like that? Do they ever crease up badly, or do you re-block before gifting anyway…

  48. Love the stole – it’s HUGE!!

    Have you ever tried a Honey Crisp apple?? They are the ambrosia of apples! If you haven’t tried one, do! If I can get Honey Crisps, I’m a Fuji girl, yum!

  49. Wow, the shawl’s a beauty! I love the picture with the chair, it looks a bit like a waterfall.

  50. Stunning, as always! You continue to amaze and inspire.

  51. The shawl is breathtaking! It may have been a grind to finish, but it is something to be proud of. you and the recipient.

    Funny about changing light bulbs, isn’t it? That is how I feel about early morning sunlight pouring through the windows. Lovely, cheerful, until I turn around and see the dust and “hangers.”

  52. Wow, the shawl looks beautiful! Sounds like a very productive weekend. Rather than changing bulbs, I simply contemplated where I want light fixtures.

  53. gorgeous Wendy!

  54. Wow, I rarely comment because all I would say is much of what everyone else says, but with this shawl, I really have to say how impressive and lovely it is. Actually, unbelievable Wendy! What an amazing knitter you are. I doubt many can compare.

    Thanks for sharing all your great tips with us. To you they might be small tips, but I am sure I speak for a great many of us knitters, they help in such a huge way.

  55. A gorgeous shawl! And a man who not only READS & follows instructions, he SEARCHES for them? Wow! You have a gem…no question!

  56. Lordy the shawl is absolutely beautiful! Great job Wendy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  57. The shawl is exquisite. And I can’t wait to see the finished sock with the Claudia yarn!

  58. Wendy, your shawl is exquisite. would it be about 60″ in length? The recipient is a very lucky person. and your lights! yay google!
    Looks like Lucy took it all in stride.
    hi Lucy!

  59. A man who asks directions and looks things up so he can do them right, is a very good man. Well worth the wedding.

    The shawl is gorgeous!

  60. That shawl is absolutely beautiful.

  61. The shawl looks magnificent!
    I have a fluorescent light in the computer room here, and it’s great for knitting. Too bad it makes my skin look like elephant hide.

  62. Wendy, I would like to suggest that either you or the KORC replace the ballasts in your kitchen lights. If they have never been changed and wires were loose, it would be a good idea to change them from a safety standpoint. I am sure that you can get directions at Home Depot and on Google. I have seen several fires start from old ballasts. Better safe than sorry.

  63. Absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for being such an inspiration – especially to a beginning knitter. One of these days I’ll try a pair of socks or something lacy, meanwhile I love that you share your expertise. Lucy question: how often does she have to be brushed? My long-haired cat is shedding like crazy. Wonder if anyone has ever tried spinning cat hair?

  64. Wendy – – the shawl is extraordinary. Whoever the recipient is, is one lucky person!

    How do you knit so fast? I’m working away at my Bohus almost exclusively, and it just doesn’t seem to grow that quickly (of course knitting a sweater with Size 0 and 1 would explain it!). I too was home last Wednesday due to bad weather, and I was able to do hours and hours of knitting – – as a result sore shoulder and neck. Do you have aches/pains if you knit for hours on end? I’m trying hard not to get side tracked by other projects, because I’m afraid if I put it down for too long, I’ll become disenchanted.

    I’ll be getting the cozy cushion at the end of this week for my kitty – – I hope she loves it as much as Lucy!


  65. I just tried to post a comment to your last post, but it wouldn’t let me–and didn’t say anything until after I had typed it and tried to post!

    The sleeves are not set in at all. could you not just make the tops of the sleeves a little narrower–both to save yarn and to look more flattering than big bat wings? Even just an inch per sleeve can make a big difference.

  66. I found your blog when I was searching for a knitted cat bed. I have plans to make one really soon.

    My question to you is, can you really leave a basket of yarn balls out in easy reach of Lucy? I see your little stash in the picutre. I have five little babies, that seem to find every string of yarn that I have. I have to lock up the yarn and even then some times they find their way to open the cabinet and I end up with a huge mess.

  67. I love the shawl. Do you just squeeze them when they’re folded up like that? I’ve only one 1.75 pieces of lace. They’re both garter stitch and feel wonderfully cushy, I can’t help squeezing them!

  68. congratulations on an amazing shawl. It is fabulous!

  69. That’s a beautiful photo of Lucy, with the lighting that way and and the colors.

    Gotta love a man with skills … and the google thing added to it is just icing on the man cake.

    And, the sill life looks scrumptious!

    Hope you are all well and happy,

  70. Beautiful Maltese!

  71. Bev Pickard says:

    I bought your book and so now I have to knit socks. But, I couldn’t find the yarn before I left on a short vacation in Florida. I was visiting a girlfirend on St George Island near Apalachacola and she said, O there is a shop in town. Off we went and both got yarn (Schoeller Stahl , Fortissima Socka and….ebony needles (set of five, no less). NOw I had not carried your book to Florida with me, so the owner of the shop was kind enough to look up the patterning, “in excrutiating detail”. By the way, she intends to order your book.
    Now, I had to knit the first toe three times before I could make it work. My cast on was too tight, I had holes… it was a process. Then all went well until the heel and I seem to have holes I don’t love… more on one side than the other. Can you advise why that might be? Also, are you knitting left handed/continental…directions for left and right seemed at odds with what I am doing.
    I am knitting the ribbing now of the first sock. I need to look up the stretchy cast off as mine is usually pretty stiff. Hope all goes well.
    We went to St. Jacobs, Ontario today to Knitwerx and she had sock yarn on sale…sooo I’ve apparently planned to make a few more pairs! lol
    Love your book and your blog. Thanks for the chuckles.