Shawly Not! I’m so punny.

Another day hiding in the studio to keep the heat in. The misery of the weather has led to a need for indoor clothes drying and as I don’t own a tumble dryer, I have resorted to hanging them in the studio… Therefore, hanging out in here with the heater going is accomplishing two things – keeping me cosy and helping the clothes get dry in under three days (which is the usual time frame for indoor drying in this weather). Three things actually, I’m also avoiding doing housework.

There is a clingy little chihuahua on my lap.

She has a grudge against her dog bed. It makes no difference how comfy, even with a hot water bottle, she will not sleep in there. If there are no laps available she will sleep on the couch – up on the back of it, not on the seat (that’s far too passe). No matter how inconvenient the positioning of the lap, or how busy the owner of the lap, she will gravitate towards it like a moth to flame. Which is to be expected as the breed is a “lap dog”.

I’m looking at yarn options that I have “in stock” for a shawl.

Ice Floss Viscose
Supposedly DK weight, more like sport.
Pink or Charcoal

Ice Kid Lurex Mohair
Supposedly Lace Weight, more like sport.

Ice Kid Mohair Sequin
Supposedly Lace Weight, more like sport.

Moda Vera Kid Mohair Blend
Lace Weight

Ice Kamgarn Superfine
Supposedly Lace Weight, more like sport.

Bamboo Silk (from an Ebay seller, Shiike)
3-ply, like Lace Weight

It’s a Shawl Thing

It’s ANZAC day and my daughter participated in the march through the center of town. I am very impressed that she got up and put on her school uniform and headed out in 2 degree Celsius weather to honour our troops both past and present. She is a better person than I am, that’s for sure.

I’m spending the public holiday hiding in my craft room. I would love to call it my “studio” cos it sounds so much more sophisticated and fancy. I just can’t seem to get out of the habit of calling it the study, which is what we always called the spare room. Also, the heater works REALLY well in such a small room. I’m looking through yarns and patterns for a shawl.

Vortex Shawl

It’s round! I love the swirly thing it’s got going on.

Copyright Pandorakick

Fountain Pen Shawl

Geometric and lacy. I like how the design is worked through the whole shawl without long periods of BORING not-lace.

copyright interweave press

Midsummer Night’s Shawl

It’s crochet, and therefore quicker to make. I love the edging but not a huge fan of the middle section. Also, crochet uses more yarn, so I’m not sure how serious a contender this one is.

Copyright Interweave Press

Heliotaxis Shawl

It’s round! And FANCY! I love the complexity of the pattern, I love how much it has going on, because in my heart, I believe shawls should look like they are just full of wondrous intricate stitches.

copyright renata brenner

Kowhai and Fern Shawl

I like a lot about this pattern, it’s got a beautiful pointy edging, it’s round and has a geometric thing happening.

Gail (Nightsongs) Shawl

This was probably the first shawl I saw and thought “Dang, I’d like to make a shawl!” It’s just nice… you know?

Girasole Shawl

This can be done as a shawl or a blanket. I think it would be warmer and therefore more practical for the area where we live. I love how it resembles the petals of a flower and it has intricate patterning,

Pretty as a Peacock Shawl

I can’t think of a downside to a shawl modeled after a peacock’s tail. It’s just awesome.

Gah! Decisions Decisions.

Oh noes! Making Mistakes has become Predictable.

Working on Drops 106-11, a moss stitch cardigan with a shawl collar. Whilst I’m not usually a fan of the shawl collar, this one is not as exaggerated as some and therefore acceptable.

I have completed the back, and I feel satisfied that it is “correct”. I cast on for the left front, worked the moss stitch edging and then began the shaping for the waist…

I forgot to work the side edging in moss stitch. Why? I don’t know, maybe I was DISTRACTED by the fact that the instructions say I need to decrease every x cms when the garment has reached x cms, then increase every x cms, whilst at the same time work the neckline starting when the garment has reached x cms and increasing every x cms AND at the same time increase the moss stitch edging by one stitch every x cms starting at x cms, not forgetting to cast off for the armhole when the garment reaches x cms. Perhaps that is why I neglected to work the moss stitch edge.

In order to prevent mistakes (hysterical and slightly maniacal laughter at myself for thinking it was possible) I first established how many rows per 10cm I was getting, and reduced that to how many rows per cm to two decimal points (to increase accuracy). At this point, I was pretty happy that I made notes about the shaping for the back because we just can’t take it for granted that I would do something so sensible! Using my mad math skillz I worked out the rows on which the increasing and decreasing and so forth would happen.

Fingers crossed, eh?

Revisiting the side edging that didn’t happen – while I would be perfectly capable of dropping the requisite stitches and then just working those back up in moss stitch, I’m guessing that it would be so fiddly that it would be more time consuming than just ripping back the twenty rows.

The Master of Delayed Gratification

Many years ago (at least two) a young knitter began a project. She saw the boat neck sweater in an issue of  Australian Knitting and had an instant desire to make and wear it. As is her wont, she substituted yarn by ordering a metallic cotton (having very similar qualities to the Filatura Di Crosa Lovely Jeans that was called for) from Yarn Paradise and waited, rather impatiently for it’s arrival.

Immediately upon it’s arrival she cast on and worked diligently, finishing the off-the-shoulder pullover in record time.

A-tingle with anticipation, she donned her new article of clothing…. and was very disappointed to find that the sleeves and hem were just that little bit too short. *sadface*

Dang and double dang. This is not a top down sweater. One cannot simply unravel it and add some extra rows.

Present day, in fact, yesterday, the knitter in question bit the bullet and CUT OFF the brown areas, keeping the live white stitches on some silky viscose yarn.

Now planning to add more length by using the brown yarn to make a wider stripe than the pattern suggests, there is one remaining problem. She is aware that in working more downwards, in the opposite direction is likely to cause a “jog” in the stitching… so now the inner debate rages… should she attempt to match up the broken rib? or should she just use a different stitch pattern so that the “jog” becomes a non-issue?

Hmm… Suggestions welcome.

Misadventures in Gauge or I Should Know Better by Now.

I am deeply ashamed. I wallow in a miasma of guilt and self-recriminations.

It’s the first rule of knittering… Swatch for gauge, get gauge, then start your project. My entire knitting life has been spent flying by the seat of my pants (sexy pants, to be sure) and I cannot recall a single swatch in my twenty plus years of knitting and crochet. Pure laziness. There is no excuse.

I’ve had a recent run of projects that have demonstrated the need for swatches and why I should probably stop being so darned over-confident and actually swatch til I get gauge.

Rowan Butterfly Dress

Copyright Jennie Atkinson

Exhibit A. The Butterfly Dress
turned out generously wide and ankle length
I can live with this, believe it or not. I have plans to ruche up the bottom half, which will disguise the figure flaws of my lower half and be infinitely more flattering. However, it serves to demonstrate how badly awry one can venture.



Prairie Tunic

Copyright Interweave Knits

Exhibit B. The Prairie Tunic
disproportionately wide
I really liked the pattern and the way it knit up and even the yarn I was using despite it’s decidedly yellow qualities. I frogged it. No pictures, no evidence, it never happened.




My face says it all really

Exhibit C. Apres Surf Hoodie

(attempt the second)

About three sizes too big.
I am considering donating this to somebody who will both appreciate it and wear it. I’m considering frogging it and reknitting it so that it will fit… decisions, decisions.






All three of these (swatchless) mistakes have been made in the last six months.
And then I look back…

  • the first sweater I made, from a vintage pattern in a substitute yarn that turned out with the arms too short and the body too short, and somehow proportionately just WRONG to be a simple matter of turning out a smaller size. There was also the rookie mistake that I made it in a novelty yarn that involved purple, sparkles, and chenille. *shudder* My utter despair was alleviated exponentially by my Amazonian friend (who has achieved surrogate Aunty status – a very rare thing to be granted) who cherished it as a crop sweater for the colder nights when clubbing.
  • Attempt the first of the Apres Surf Hoodie which turned out small (but wearable) prompting attempt the second.

I need to stop reliving my mistakes or I may throw away my needles in despair, and my Mummy spent too much money on my Knitpro interchangeables to risk it.

The obvious conclusion is that I need to start swatching. *Sigh*. And since I ALWAYS substitute yarn, it is especiallly important. I wonder how long this resolution will last? Hmm… I’m guessing for the next two projects if I’m lucky.

Craft Room Reorganisation

This is my little knitty corner, that is most of my stash on the shelves there as organised by my daughter. She went through my notebook and put the yarn in order and numbered the boxes. Very sweet.

The craft drawers have all sorts of things going on in there, some knitting, some sewing, some stickers, papercraft, beados, and anything and everything. The bins on top have yarn needing to be sorted and some in progress stuff.

The cabinet. The top two shelves have empty notebooks (which I collect with gay abandon, having absolutely no regard to whether I have space to keep them). The next two shelves contain knitting books and magazines and the bottom shelf has sewing patterns and magazines on it.

The table on which I work, the small box underneath has stationary, the big box is fabric. The black mesh basket contains things in need of repair, or blocking, or assembling.

Current project:

DROPS 106-11 Moss Stitch Cardigan. I’m using Moda Vera Angora Blend which I got from Spotlight at an end of season sale for a ridiculously low price. I am so looking forward to having a cardigan made out of this scrummy stuff. Very soft and a little bit of a halo. I even did a GAUGE SWATCH as part of my new resolution to gauge swatch things.

It seems my current style of knitting (continental) is looser than I used to knit when I was a “thrower”. It turns out I get correct gauge (stitch wise, if not row-wise) on 3.5mms. The rows are less important, since the pattern directions call for shaping to be done when you reach a certain length measured in cms, rather than “every x rows”.

They are Coming for YOU!!

I just finished knitting Old School Space Invaders Scarf by Emily Mitchell. I finally live in a climate that justifies a heavy scarf, and now I have one. I used Spotlights “own brand” of acrylic nastiness, Marvel 8-ply.

Spot the mistake:



Oh noes!! I came to the realisation that I had put the mothership in the wrong place around the time I got to the third alien. I was not going to frog back, and I was also not going to say, “Oh, who cares? Nobody will notice.” Bullcrap nobody will notice! I cannot live with a MOTHERSHIP at the BOTTOM of the scarf… Damn it all.

So the solution?

Cut above the mothership.

Unravel back to about three rows above the ‘splosion.

Kitchener stitch it back together.

Voila! Can’t even tell. I’m so impressed with me.

I’ve added a fringe to the ends. I’ve just got to block the bejeebers out of it.