My current work in progress:

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

Archives for April 2007

Alpine Lace

Thanks for all the nice comments on the Alpine lace!

alisonmc asked:
As a devoted cat owner/slave and new lace knitter (socks and small scarves only at this stage) I can’t help but wonder how you keep your very cute little helper away from the projects you’re blocking out. I believe cages and stun guns would be required in my house. Any tips on blocking whilst avoiding prosecution for animal cruelty?




I’m sorry . . . can you repeat the question?

My little helper helped me with every step of the blocking process.

The foam blocks worked great — thick enough that the t-pins stuck down in them very easily and didn’t budge. I used blocking wires strung through the edges of the shawl, and pinned them into place.

And this morning I unpinned the lace. Voila!


I did finish one of my Panda cotton socks last Friday.

It is incredibly soft and nicely squishy, and fits my foot very nicely. The yarn has a lot of stretch in it so I think the socks will bounce back nicely. I used my usual number of stitches for sock weight yarn and they seem just right.

And I’ve knit more miters.


Lace ‘n’ Miters

This the view we woke up to yesterday. Happy Spring!


It was only an inch or so and it had melted by noon.

I received the foam blocks I ordered (see the entry from last Tuesday) so this afternoon set out to block the Alpine Lace.

The shawl takes a bath in the sink in warm water with some lovely Soak wool wash.


Meanwhile, I assemble the interlocking foam blocks.


My little helper demonstrates the size of the blocking surface. (It’s 3 feet by 6 feet.)

After 20 minutes or so, I rinse the shawl and take it out of the water, squeezing oh-so-gently to remove excess water, and roll it in a bath towel and gently squeeze some more. Actually, you don’t have to rinse out the Soak wool wash, but I usually do anyway.


My little helper eats lunch to keep her strength up.


On to blocking.


It is now drying.


Miter Fun!

Brenda asked:
Your mitered tunic is turning out great. I have a question about the neckline. I like square necklines as I have a round face, the contrast looks good. So, if you didn’t put the triangles in the corners and picked up stitches for a neckband and mitered the band in the corners, could you get a square neckline? I saw a woman at the supermarket with a sweater neck that looked like that, but I wasn’t sure, and she was a stranger, and I didn’t want to be arrested for harassing her to see how her sweater was constructed. You seemed a safer bet.

You are correct, I will not have you arrested for blog-stalking. 😉

And you are correct, you could leave the neckline square and do mitered corners in the neckband. I like square necks myself and considered doing that for this sweater, but like the idea of trying out the triangles for shaping.

Lisa commented:
I see that you are using “Yarntini — 4-8-15-16-23-42”. Aren’t those the numbers from “Lost”? Which colorway is it? Can you draw a little arrow on the sweater-in-progress? What a great name for a colorway!

“Lost.” That’s a television show, right?

Me, not so big on network television. But I’m glad a couple of you mentioned the name of this colorway and the significance of it, otherwise I would have gone to my grave not knowing. I just picked it because I liked the colors.

It’s the squares that have some bright sky blue in them.

That reminds me — all of the yarns I chose for this sweater are handpainted and most of them do not stripe. But I did throw in a couple of self-striping yarns (like the Yarntini) because I thought it would be fun to have a few stripey squares scattered throughout. I’m glad I did — I like the way it looks.

DeeAnn said:
The mitered square tunic is unexpected but it seems to have this mystery power that enchants me the more I look at it. If it is garter stitch, could you turn it every row of squares so the angles go back and forth in waves?

I find it pretty enchanting too. 🙂

Yes, you can turn the direction of the squares, but I thought the combination of the different handpainted yarns and the texture of the garter stitch is enough. I was afraid that multi-directional would be overkill.

But I’d consider it for a modular garment made in a single colorway.

Then I picked it up to work on upside-down and knitted a row of squares going the opposite direction across the bottom.

It’s not too noticeable, and I am calling it a design element.


Book Giveaway

The random number generator chose Erica B. to receive this week’s book. Erica, I’ve emailed you!

The Mighty Miter

I’m really enjoying the knitting of the miters.


Frarochvia had several questions (by the way, I don’t remember my pre-Lasik prescription — sorry!):

I love the idea of your mitered sweater! How will you handle the shaping for neck/shoulders? I assume this will be a rather boxy sweater, yes?

Any particular reason why garter stitch vs stockinette?

Actually, several of you asked about the shaping. I’m planning this as a tunic-type sweater, with a round neck and dropped shoulders. Loose-fitting, to wear over a shirt or turtleneck.

How do you do a round neck in a sweater knit from squares? With triangles! Here is a quick and dirty schematic of how you can use knitted triangles to create curves:


I’ll be doing something like that for the neckline of this sweater. Then I’ll pick up stitches and knit a neckband.

You could do your armhole shaping with some well-placed triangles as well, but I’m planning a drop-shoulder sweater.

Why garter stitch? A couple of reasons. I really like the way mitered squares look done in garter stitch. Stockinette, not so much. Another reason — I’m using fingering weight yarn to knit this sweater, and I’d like it to have a little body. Garter stitch makes it a bit thicker and sturdier.

Kabira asked:

I’m wondering — are you using sock yarn oddballs or are you – gasp! – using a bit from ‘virgin’ skeins? Will it be so little that the skein is not ‘ruined’ for socks?

I’m using whole skeins. Woo!

I went into the stash and selected a bunch of sock yarns in greens and browns — 16 different ones. While I won’t use all of this yarn for this sweater, I will use enough from each skein so that there won’t be enough left to knit a pair of socks from each color. But the remnants will go into my “modular” stash. No worries!

Jocelyn commented:

I’m curious as to the names of the colorways that you are using.

We-e-ell, I’m using the following

Koigu — P514
Claudia’s Handpainted — Boot Camp
Claudia’s Handpainted — Jungle
Claudia’s Handpainted — Leopard
Claudia’s Handpainted — Eat Your Veggies
Cherry Tree Hill — Earth Potluck
All Thing Heather — Sherwood
Cabin Cove — unnamed colorway in tan and brown
Black Bunny Fibers — Tawny
Fleece Artist — Moss
Fleece Artist — Bronze
Mountain Colors — Red Tail Hawk
Twisted — Ankh
Scarlet Fleece — Sand and Sea
Lavender Sheep — Cinder
Yarntini — 4-8-15-16-23-42

Rebekah asked:

Okay so now here’s the question I have to ask, your knit from your stash thingy, in which you can buy only sock yarn, can you buy sock yarn if it’s for a sweater? It is still technically labeled and targeted as sock yarn, is this a loop hole?

Fair question. 🙂

All these sock yarns I am using for this sweater were taken out of my stash. Some of these yarns were in my stash at the start of my “Knit From Your Stash” thingy, and some were acquired since then. But all of these sock yarns were acquired with the idea of knitting socks. I hadn’t even thought about making the mitered square sweater until I was almost done with the Alpine Lace. (Incidentally, I’m planning on blocking said Alpine Lace on Sunday.)

So I think I’ve not broken any of the rules. Rather, I’m displaying a creative use for my sock yarn. 🙂

Alisa asked:

Have you seen the book “Knits From A Painter’s Palette.” It basically could be renamed “101 items to make out of mitered squares in Koigu, from sweaters and jackets to a pair of trousers. If you like the look of your sweater, you’ll love that book, if for no other reason than the pictures.

I have indeed. It’s a beautiful book to thumb through and drool over the colors. Great inspiration!

Blog-i-versary Contest

The winner of the “leave a comment win a prize contest” is lurker Cricket. Thanks for delurking to comment, Cricket, and thank you so much to all of you who left comments. It’s been a very festive blog-i-versary indeed.

Book Give-away

I’ve got another book to give away this week.

This week’s book is Sight Unseen by Robert Goddard, whose books I highly recommend.

Would you like it? Send an email to blogcontestATcomcastDOTnet before noon Eastern time on Sunday April 8, and I’ll use the random number generator to pick a lucky recipient. Once again, anyone with a mailing address on Planet Earth is welcome to enter the drawing.

Lucy Report

There have been some inquiries about Lucy’s health. She is recovering. She still is limping, but not as badly, and she has gotten more playful as she starts feeling better.


“I’m cute, too! Don’t forget to tell ’em I’m cute!”

It Miter Be a Sweater

There were a lot of interesting guesses as to what the new project is. Some of the guesses sent me to google. A lot of guesses were for a mitered blanket, and a number for a log cabin blanket.

There were a number of guesses for a crayon box sweater — close guess!

Yep, it’s gonna be a mitered square sweater, but it’s one I’m sort of making up as I go along. Here’s the progress so far.


I have at this point decided that I like it, so it will be allowed to live. You may choose to dislike it. Even dislike it intensely, if you so desire. But it works for me, and I think I’ll like it more as I go along.

I picked out 16 skeins of sock yarn from my stash — all in shades of browns and greens (with a little bit of other colors here and there) and started making mitered squares. My squares are being knit on US size 2 (3.0mm) needles and I start with 25 stitches. Working in garter stitch, this creates a piece that’s about 2.25 inches square. I’m knitting each square onto the previous one and alternating predominantly brown with predominantly green. I’m not keeping the colors in any sort of order, but I’m trying to use each colorway an equal number of times.

At the moment I’m thinking pullover, but I may change my mind and make a cardigan. I’ve got time to do so, as I’m working on the back right now. A cardigan would be great, but experience tells me that I wear pullovers much more than cardis.

In Other News

If you haven’t already, check out the Loopy Ewe’s Q2 Quarterly Challenge, that Sheri posted today on her blog. A most excellent idea, I think.

Vision Quest

Thanks for all the comments on the glasses!

As I mentioned last month when I went for the eye exam (March 14 blog entry), I had Lasik 6 years ago, but my distance vision has deteriorated a bit since then so I need the glasses for distance. Here’s the full story (feel free to skip to the Lucy photo):

Got my first glasses when I was in the second grade. Got my first contact lenses when I was 15 years old — hard lenses. Got gas permeable lenses when I was in my 20s, soft lenses when I was in my 40s. Then I suddenly could no longer tolerate the contact lenses, so I got glasses. My eyes were so bad (severely nearsighted with astigmatism) that the lenses were mega-thick and the glasses gave me headaches. Got lasik and got corrected for monovision. (And this was the best move I’ve ever made — the joy of being able to see without corrective lenses was intense.)

Now I can see perfectly close-up (and computer), but the distance vision has gotten a bit fuzzy. This was made clear to me when I barely squeaked by on the vision test for my driver’s license renewal in January. (Actually, I think the lady at the Division of Motor Vehicles should not have passed me.) I got progressive lenses so I can wear the glasses to watch tv and still knit without having to look “under” them.

Here endth the story of my vision.

Lucy’s glad it’s over too.


Tuesday Miscellany

Judy has posted a photo of her very alluring laceweight yarn on her blog. Go see!

Susan has posted a new shawl pattern for sale that is downright gorgeous. Go see! Yes, I’ve already bought it. Yes, I might even knit the nupps. 😉

I finished my Ben socks:


These socks are knit from Zen String Serendipity sock yarn in the “Ben” colorway. The moment I started knitting with this yarn I fell in love with it. I went back and snagged a couple more skeins of it from The Loopy Ewe before Sheri sold out of it. So I can make more Serendipity socks — yay!

I used a US 2 needle on this sportweight yarn, and got a decent-sized pair of socks out of one skein.

I started another sock.


This is Crystal Palace Panda Cotton in the “Fern” colorway. It’s a blend of bamboo, cotton, and nylon, and I bought enough for a pair of socks (2 skeins) from The Loopy Ewe when Sheri started carrying it. I checked the ball band and the stated gauge is 6/7 sts/inch on a size 1 – 2.5 US needle. Okay, time to swatch. I started with a US 1 needle and was surprised to find that I got 8 stitches to the inch! So I’m knitting this sock on US 1 needles at 8 stitches to the inch. It’s interesting so far.


The yarn is constructed of many plies and I really had to watch it while picking up my wraps on my short-row toe. So much so that I got a little dis-enchanted with the yarn. I was afraid it was going to be very splitty. But once I got past the toe and started working in the round, things were fine. I’ve not had any problem with stitches splitting.

The resulting knitted fabric is very soft and quite stretchy. I’ll be very interested in how these socks feel on the foot!

My Current Big Project

Still not ready to show you a pic. Still deciding whether it is gorgeous or hideous. I may never know. 😉

Here’s a hint.


Can you guess what it is?

Here’s another hint.


How about now?

Lucy Sez


“Please do not disturb my nap. I’ve had a rough day of lying around.”

Time Marches On

Getting old sucks. I got my glasses today.


But now I am no longer a danger on the roads!