My current work in progress:

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


Archives for October 2012

After the Storm

Miss Lucy and I did just fine during Hurricane Sandy. Thanks for all your good wishes. My electricity stayed on the whole time so I was able to log on and work from home on Monday and Tuesday. By late Tuesday afternoon I think Lucy was hoping I’d go to work as I was upsetting her normal routine. Today I was back in the office so she was able to return to her regular nap schedule.

Dishcloth Diva

Last week I received a review copy of this book: Dishcloth Diva by Deb Buckingham.

The book is available as an ebook and in hardcopy from Cooperative Press. I was sent an ebook to review.

This is a book of (you guessed it) dishcloth patterns, twenty of them. There is a nice Foreword written by Kay Gardiner of Mason-Dixon Knitting, who freely admits that she loves knitting dishcloths. There are many great reasons to knit them: they are portable, they are quick, they are a great way to try out new stitch patterns, and they make great gifts.

(Stuck for a holiday gift idea? Knit up a dishcloth/washcloth, wrap it around a nice bar of scented soap and tie with a ribbon!)

In the book there is a nice discussion about cotton yarn: pros and cons, differences in cotton yarns, etc. Then we get to the patterns. As I mentioned above, there are twenty patterns. They are divided into 4 categories: Knotty or Nice, Lines, Rib It, and Texture. On the publisher’s website here you can see photos of all the patterns. Several different cotton yarns are used (from Tahki Stacy Charles, Universal Yarns, Knit One, Crochet Two, KnitPicks, Malabrigo, and Classic Elite) , but you could of course substitute a different cotton yarn for the one used in a particular pattern. Each pattern is written out line by line — there are no charts.

It’s a nice little book (64 pages long) with lovely full-color photos of the dishcloths and well-written knitting instructions. You can purchase the ebook only for $9.95 or the ebook and the hardcopy both for $15.95 from Cooperative Press — see the link above.

Cooperative Press has authorized me to give away a copy of the ebook to one of my readers. Who’d like it?

To be entered in the drawing for the e-copy of  Dishcloth Diva, leave a comment on this blog post. Do not email me, do not use the “Contact Me” link at the top of the page (which sends me an email). It may seem like I am harping on this, but on every single giveaway I get multiple emailed entries. The number I pick at random is from the number of comments — I can easily do this from within WordPress, so emails are not counted. The link to leave a comment is right below the title of the blog post, which is “After the Storm.” Please do not email me aski8ng how to leave a comment. You need to figure it out if you want to be entered in the drawing!  😉

Anyway, please leave a comment by noon Eastern time next Sunday, November 4, 2012. I’ll use the Random Number Generator to pick a comment at random at that time. Thanks!

Lucy sez:

Happy Halloween!


Steeks Everywhere

It’s been a very steeky weekend!

I completed the front of the rainbow coat at the end of the week and was ready to knit the front bands. It occurred to me — why not steek the front bands?

Here is a front band steek — I picked up stitches along a front edge and then joined the top of the band to the bottom of the band with a steek:

Here is a front band completed:

A close-up of the bottom edge:

I knit a facing on the bnd and folded it under and sewed into place. I’ll use snaps instead of buttons for fasteners.

I just picked up stitches along the neck edge to knit the collar band — I’m steeking that too.

Once I finish the collar, all that remains are the sleeves.

And the rest of today is being spent in Frankenstorm preparations. I’ve got my battery-run radio, I’ve got my flashlights and lantern, plenty of non-perishable food and water, and of course plenty of knitting. Today is laundry and pay the bills day, just in case I’m left without power after the storm blows through.

Lucy is of course a big help!


The Rainbow Coat does not particularly lend itself to commuter knitting, so on Monday I cast on a more portable project for just that.

This is a simple lace scarf that I winkled together — nothing fancy. The extraordinary thing about this scarf is the yarn: Cormo wool.

I am a long-time fan of Cormo wool. What is Cormo? Check out the American Cormo Sheep Association website for more information on the breed.

My yarn came from Elsa Wool, a Cormo sheep ranch in Colorado. The wool that Elsa sells is frompurebred Cormo sheep, the descendants of the original Downie flock in Tasmania that was the start of the Cormo breed. Check out the website — you can purchased wool that is either woolen-spun or worsted-spun (you can read about the difference between the two on Elsa’s website) in 4 different weights (laceweight, fingering, sport, or worsted) in 4 different natural sheep colors (cream, light grey, medium grey, or dark grey). These shades of grey have a lot of brown in them, I think.

For my scarf, I chose woolen-spun fingering weight wool in light grey. A 4-0unce skein has 450 yards of sheepy goodness. The light grey is a lovely oatmeal color.

I have been thinking about how to describe why I love Cormo wool so much. It’s hard to put into words. It is soft and springy and minimally processed. It knits up like a dream. It is light and airy but at the same time has a substantial feel. You will either have to take my word for it or get some for yourself and try it out!

As I said, this is a very simple lace pattern, just repeats of a diagonal pattern separated with columns of fagoting. Because I want this to be as mindless as possible to knit (being commuter knitting and all), I have separated the repeats with stitch markers. Check out my nifty stitch markers!

Those are sterling silver rings from Kate at Spindlecat Studio. I’ve mentioned Kate’s knitting doodads in the past — she has all sorts of lovely handcrafted knitting notions. I love her stitch markers because they are very slender and do not interfere at all with the knitting.

Want to knit a scarf like this? You can use this pattern with any weight of yarn really. The pattern repeat is 8 stitches, so you can add or remove repeats to get the scarf width you want.

You need to cast on however many multiples of 8 that you want plus 14 stitches. My scarf has 9 pattern repeats, so I cast on 86 stitches: 8 x 9 + 14. I am using a U.S. size 3 (3.25mm) needle and my unblocked scarf is approximately 13″ wide.

Then follow the charts:

(ETA: An eagle-eyed friend let me know I’d left out the double decrease symbol in the key — I’ve uploaded a new version of both the graphic and the pdf on 10/25/12.)

(Click on the chart to enlarge it. You can download a pdf version of the chart here.)

Work the 6 rows of Chart A. This is seed stitch, and makes a nice neat bottom edge for your scarf.

Next, work Chart B. Work the first 9 stitches before the dotted line — this is 5 stitches of seed stitch plus the first column of fagoting. Then work the 8 stitches within the dotted lines as many times as you cast on for. For example, I am working these 8 stitches a total of 9 times. Then work the last 5 stitches, the seed stitch border for the left side.

Work all 8 rows of Chart B as many times as you want, until your scarf is almost as long as you want it to be, or until you are almost out of yarn. You just need enough yarn remaining to work Chart C, which is 6 rows of seed stitch that make up the top border. Bind off all stitches loosely in seed stitch and block your scarf. You are done!

My scarf will probably take quite a long time — I’m knitting a fairly wide scarf on small needles and plan to make it pretty long. And it is designated commuter knitting only. But this is definitely a “process” knit — the joy is in the knitting.

Lucy maintains that the joy is in the napping.

On the Agenda for Today



Still Knitting a Rainbow

I am still happily knitting along on my Rainbow Coat, but a long term project like this does not make for particularly exciting blog posts, I’m afraid.

Here is the front:

Compare it to the photo of the front in Sunday’s blog post and you can see that I have made some progress.

As I have mentioned before, the front has two steeks: one for the side seams, and one for the front opening. So when I finish the knitting and cut them, I’ll have two side fronts.

A Present For Lucy

Last spring I bought a Drinkwell Pet Fountain for Lucy to encourage her to drink more water. (It seems to have done the trick — the water level goes down quite dramatically.) However, the bowl of the fountain recently developed a small leak, so I needed to replace it.

Rather than replace it with another plastic fountain, I opted for something a bit more elegant: a handmade ceramic fountain from CatFountains.

The one I purchased is a lovely variegated blue (to match Miss Lucy’s eyes, of course) and I added an optional copper pipe waterfall. Like the previous fountain I had, this accommodates a carbon filter, so Lucy always has nice clean water.

The capacity is 6 cups (48 ounces) — a lot less than the 168 ounce capacity of her previous fountain. But I have no problem refilling it more frequently and this fountain is much prettier!

As soon as I placed it on the kitchen floor, Lucy got very excited and insisted on drinking from it, even though I hadn’t put it in its proper place yet. Silly girl!

She seems to be fascinated by it — much more so than she was with her old fountain. But then, I always knew she was a kitty with refined tastes. 🙂

I think Lucy pretends that she is a mighty lioness heading down to the waterhole for refreshment after a hunt when she drinks from her fountain.

ETA: for those of you expressing concerns about the use of copper pipe, this statement is on the seller’s Etsy site:

We sometimes get questions about the use of copper in our fountains – is it safe? Not only is it safe, it is beneficial. Copper as a delivery material for water actually inhibits bacterial growth and does not corrode. When we attach a ‘waterflower’ or ‘waterleaf’ to a copper stem only lead-free solder is used. These fountains are designed to help you maintain your cats’ health while giving you something enjoyable to see and hear. See this link:

This is the same pipe that is used for plumbing in upscale homes. I do, of course, always check out thoroughly anything that my little princess comes in contact with.