I recently found myself away from home for several weeks, hence the dearth of posts here.
When life hands you lemons make a shawl, I say!
Fortunately I was armed with a pattern (more about that in future posts), yarn and stitch markers.
I always put lifelines into my lace knitting, and I’ve never regretted that yet. Although I usually like to use a thin cotton yarn as my lifeline, some on-the-road dental floss was the perfect substitute. If you’ve never used a lifeline, its a thinner yarn in a contrasting color that you thread through the live stitches on your needle. That way, if (in my case WHEN) you drop a stitch, the lifeline will catch it and keep it from running an alarming number of rows. I like to mark the pattern’s chart or text at the point where I put the lifeline in so I know where to resume from if I have to rip all the way back to the lifeline. Another thing I learned the hard way about lifelines…be sure to go around – and not through – stitch markers.
It’s hard to tell in this photo, since they’re hidden inside the curled-up work, but I love to use stitch markers between a given number of repeats. In this case, the pattern repeat was 8 stitches, so I placed a marker every three repeats for a total of 24 stitches between markers. Here’s my philosophy…either I am going to take a little time to count stitches between stitch markers as I go, or I am going to find out at the end of a row (or even further along in my work) that I’m off by a stitch or more and spend a lot of time tracking down the mistake. There may be some superhero knitters out there who do not make errors in their lace, but I am not one of them. Given that I am going to goof, counting between stitch markers every time limits my mistakes to just those stitches between markers. All that counting pays off in peace of mind.
Before I flew out the door for my unexpected trip, I had the presence of mind to toss a pad of Post-It notes into my bag. If you’re new to charts, you may like to use this popular method for keeping track of the row you’re working. By placing the Post-It above the row I’m working, I can see the rows I’ve already worked. It allows me to “read” my work, so I can verify that the yarnovers, decreases or plain stitches are lined up as they’re supposed to be.
If you’d like to read more about working charts and other tips, you might like to check out my Tips & Techniques page.
Here’s Ishbel, a lovely shawl pattern by Ysolda Teague. I made the small version, and managed to get it done during two train rides across Pennsylvania, plus another hour or two. It was a quicker knit than I thought it’d be!
I loved using the Swans Island fingering for this – it’s a well-behaved yet soft yarn. This is the Winterberry color, with just the right amount of tone-on-tone variation.
I bought the yarn at Ranch Dog Knitting a while ago
Swans Island Yarn
The Ishbel pattern can be found individually or in Ysolda’s collection Whimsical Little Knits 1
Girasole. One of my favorite patterns to make - ever. It’s really quite easy to knit – it only looks complicated. Mine is the blanket size, about 67″ across.
I used Cascade Pastazafor this project. It’s pretty hefty stuff, with 50% llama and 50% wool, but that’s just right for a large lacey blanket. If you’re considering using Pastaza, be forewarned – mine bled when I soaked it. You’ll want to use vinegar in your soak to set the dye.
Thanks, Jared, for another fantastic pattern!
It’s been a few weeks now, but the thrill of having my Eleanor Cowl included in Knitty has not worn off!
I used Lorna’s Lace’s Shepherd Sport for the pewter cowl above. It’s such an unusual, gorgeous neutral! Eleanor is a quick knit, and Lorna’s Laces’ colors are so abundant, I can see making several of these cowls for friends and also to accent various pieces of my own wardrobe.
I love the warm cashmere blend found in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. Purple is a popular color right now, so I made this version of the cowl too.
Eleanor was inspired by a pattern I found in a Japanese stitch dictionary. I altered the pattern for the bottom section of the cowl so that it would take on a funnel shape – larger at the bottom to fit over a garment, and smaller at the top to stay closer to the neck.
I polled my knitting friends on Facebook about whether to design the cowl to be knit flat, which can make blocking the lace easier, or whether to design it in the round, which makes the knitting easier. The results were split so I wrote the pattern both ways!
Lots of knitters over on Ravelry have been making the cowl. I love to see the various yarns and beautiful array of colors that are being used. If you want to check out their projects, click here:
As always, I send bouquets of gratitude to Susan Claudino for an awesome job knitting the pewter sample of the cowl.