Category Archives: lace

Around and around

The Pi Shawl, she is done, and I am well pleased. I wore it out on Wednesday as a layer under my jacket (then, erm, learned very quickly to be careful not to choose jackets with little grabby snaggy parts underneath the collar – had a close call) and got to show it off at the Toronto Downtown Knit Collective meeting at ‘show and tell’, which was also super fun. Go ahead and knit yourself one of these, man. I mean, sure, it’ll take a while. But then you get this:


This is worked with 2 skeins (just 2 skeins – 5g left of the 2nd one) of Indigodragonfly 50/50 merino/silk, or about 1400 yards, in “One, one purple skein, Aaa Aaa Aaaah!” that I got myself last summer as a birthday present. I had a 3rd skein waiting and ready, but was glad to get to just the end of the 2nd one and not be left with a large amount of remnants. This is on a 4.0mm needle and after a solid blocking is about 5 and a half feet across. If i had to do it again, admittedly, I would go down to 3.5mm and work more rounds to compensate for the difference. The finished product here is lovely, but the yarnovers are a little wider than I’d like (this ain’t no Orenburg lace, to be sure, but you know) for full comfort. Still, I’m happy with it, and it’ll be a nice light layer or scarf to throw on when needed.


Elizabeth Zimmerman’s instructions for this shawl are workable for a number of different yarn weights, so you could easily do it with fingering or DK if you like, for a snugglier garment. The yarnover variation here (yarnovers worked every 6th round) is one that appealed to me since it adds just a hint of interest, but a plain stockinette version would surely be the ultimate in mindless knitting, if a person were drawn to that sort of thing. And the garter stitch border is sitting there doing just what I wanted it to – being plain more than fancy, and floating along happily at the edge.


So look at that. Sometimes when you put a project away for a few months, and then come back to it, you realize you really CAN finish it after all! Thank goodness.

I do have the Peacock Feathers shawl still waiting and on deck to come up next, but before I start that I am getting in some quality speed-stockinette time on a new Hourglass Sweater (pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts). It’s been on my brain ever since January when I went to Vogue Knitting Live with Lisa and she pulled hers out of her suitcase to wear one day and I immediately wanted one of my own. We’re just in sleeve country at the moment, but I’m hopeful that chugging away on this will have me a completed sweater in a brisk enough period of time, and then I can sink my teeth into some more lace knitting.


Happy long weekend, or regular weekend if you are not in a Canadian part of the world! And happy knitting to all.


Filed under elizabeth zimmerman, finished object: shawl, lace, sweaters

The lace knitting version of crazy

So, you know how, when you’re knitting a lace-weight shawl, and you’re so close to being done that it feels like you’re really close, but then you realize you actually still have at least another two hours of knitting to go on the border? And it feels like it’s never going to end? And you’re not really sure you were thinking very rightly when you decided to start this project on a whim?


But then, eventually it does end, and you wash it and pin it all out for blocking (because even though it’s a circular shawl you don’t actually have circular blocking wires and are just making do with a million T-pins instead), and it looks sort of nice, like maybe it really did turn out OK after all, and that maybe it was actually a really great idea to start the shawl, because if you only ended up with exactly 5g leftover on the second skein then that’s a pretty great place to have stopped at?


And so you know how then you think, well, this lace knitting business isn’t so bad, now you have to immediately decide to start another one, even though you have a zillion other things to work on and you know eventually this new one will still have that agonizing almost-done-but-not-yet phase waiting for you?


Yeah. Me too.

(And if the sunshine ever returns from under these rain clouds that seem to have glued themselves to Southern Ontario, I will totally get on some proper Finished Object photos of the Pi Shawl. But it’s done, and I like it, and it was all worth it.)


Filed under elizabeth zimmerman, finished object: shawl, lace


Remember this? Me too, dimly. The Pi Shawl I started on back in the fall has lain dormant amongst the yarn stash and WIPs since about mid-November. I think I harboured some hopes of finishing it over the Christmas holidays, but then with other knits going on it became clear this project just needed some time to sit. I’d reached the part of the pattern where you’re knitting nearly 600 sts in the final section and just reached a stopping point.


A week or so ago I took it back up and realized, as one often does after the Great Timeout of Projects That Were Sucking The Life Out Of You Before, that I wasn’t actually that far from finishing. This could actually get done. Of course, although the Pi Shawl is extremely versatile, the original instructions aren’t written for laceweight, and when you reach the final instruction of knitting the last section for 40 rows “or until tired,” there’s a fair amount of leeway for deciding when to stop. I’ve sort of been going with the technique of holding up the radius (it’s a big bunched up circle at this point) along my arm and judging if it’s reached my wingspan yet. I think it has. Which means I finally get to start on the edging.


Because I’ve made a deal with myself that I can’t start one of the two (or three or four) sweater projects I’m itching to start on until I finish this shawl, you see. And, uh, just being left with a knitted-on garter stitch border on an almost-600-stitch circular shawl, that’s almost like being done, right?

I hope so.


Filed under lace, shawls

It’s just that starting is so easy

I don’t know what it is about lace and lace-weight yarn that can have such an all-consuming effect. Either you’re in the deep dark throes of trying to finish something and feeling like it’s never going to end, or you’re fresh-faced and starting out with something new and it’s all going to be GREAT, just wait and see.

When I cast off my Bridgewater shawl back in July I immediately started reading through all the lace patterns I’ve got. There have been several on deck – the Peacock Feathers shawl, for example. But over the last year or so I’ve been reading through the Elizabeth Zimmerman books gradually and waiting for the opportune moment to start a Pi Shawl.


It turns out that the opportune moment comes when you’re riding a start-itis high after finishing a few projects, and even though you’re more than halfway through your Rhinebeck sweater and it needs to be done in a month you’re still looking for something new and shiny, and the yarn you bought yourself as a birthday present back at the end of July that has been waiting ever so patiently and that you were swatching up to knit something else entirely suddenly says “I would like to be a Pi Shawl now, please,” and it’s September and starting to get cold and you want to immediately cast on anything and everything that will make you feel warmer around any part of your body.

And that’s how it starts.


Filed under lace, shawls


[ETA]: This pattern is now available for sale on Patternfish, and in my Ravelry store.

I’ve been a busy little bee the last few weeks, as per usual getting one or two things ready for the knitting fair! For the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter’s Fair this weekend, you will once again be able to find a new pattern of mine at Tanis Fiber Arts.  Tanis has been wanting a quick ‘single skein’ shawl pattern all for her own, and since she has two different lines of fingering weight yarn, I wanted to come up with something that a knitter could make with either one.


This is “Allons-Y” (french for ‘let’s go!’), and is shown here in Tanis’ Purple Label cashmere/merino/nylon blend in the rich and gorgeous ‘poppy‘ shade. It is very soft and has a pleasant weight around the neck. Can’t you just feel the cashmere radiating through the photos?


I wanted something that would combine a couple of stitch motifs for a nice scarf-like effect, in the nice versatile way that small shawls can be. You could wear this over the shoulders on a chilly day, or tuck it around your neck or under the collar for just a bit of extra insulation.

This uses 4.5mm needles and a single 100g skein of Tanis’ fingering weight, with just 7g leftover from my sample in the Purple Label (slightly shorter yardage than the Blue label merino/nylon fingering weight). A nice bargain! Experienced lace knitters will probably be able to knock this off pretty quickly, and adventurous new lace knitters who are looking for a second or third project to try will find it approachable enough. The shawl follows typical triangular shawl construction, and is worked from the centre neck down towards the edge, with a garter stitch edging and yarnover increases. Reverse side rows are worked purlwise, because if you’re going for speed, (not that I would ever be impatient to finish things, no no no…) you want to have that nice purl resting row waiting for you.


Thanks also to Bridget Allin of Needles in the Hay, who I accosted…errr, who obliged me with a quick photo shoot in her shop.

See you at the fair this weekend, folks – and with one more thing I’ll have to tell you about tomorrow. (Heh). ;)


Filed under design, lace

The magical step

Did you know that when you finish knitting your shawl, you can give it a quick bath and then pin it out for blocking, and it changes from being a lump of yarn into being an actual lace shawl?


It’s true. It works every time.


You just can’t make this stuff up.


(Lamplight shawl. Full pattern details coming soon.)


Filed under design, lace


The shawl is now thisclose to being finished. Just a few border rows and a bit of blocking and it’ll be done, and after that a bit more pattern drafting and it’ll be ready to go up for sale over at The Sweet Sheep. I’m happy that it’s almost finished (because then I get to fully show it off, and y’all will get to knit it too, if you should desire), and I can tell that I’m almost there because I’ve started longingly browsing other shawl patterns. Yesterday it was Knitted Lace of Estonia. When I was almost finished knitting my Bridgewater Shawl, I was giving serious contemplation to casting on Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Pi Shawl. (I restrained myself). It’s some strange lace-coloured-classes form of startitis, who can figure it.


On my last post many of you commented on the fact that I am using lifelines. I like lifelines. I’ve often used them while lace knitting because I like the sense of security, and in this instance they have been a great support during the design process. When I’ve gotten to a point in the project when I am happy with it and confident about moving forward from that point at the very least, I string in a lifeline. (Here: some of my Lorna’s Laces shepherd sock remnants. It’s non-grabby, thin, and colourfast, all good qualities in a lifeline). I’ve installed them at several points to support my progress, and it’s also a nice visual reminder of how far I’ve knitted. I like the advantage of knowing that if/when I have to rip something out, I’ll have a secure row of stitches to pick up. This doesn’t mean that my lace knitting is always mistake-free, mind you. I still make mistakes, I just give myself the option of a re-do if it gets to be that bad.


However, I know that there are knitters that don’t use them, and Erin reminded me that this is actually a subject of debate. (I know – a facet of knitting with multiple opinions about it. Shocking, isn’t it? (DPNs vs. Magic Loop. Aaaaand…go!)) So I’m piqued, dear knitting friends, do you use lifelines? Whether you do or don’t, know that I have 100% respect for you either way. But I am curious to know more about what goes into that decision or non-decision.

And in the mean time, I’m looking ahead to the next knitting projects and I think a return to cables, lots more teal green, and more sweaters are on the horizon. Even if fall does bring a return to “real” work for me, I’m happy about cold weather knitting also returning.

Happy knitting!


Filed under design, lace