Archive for October, 2013

The swatch for the Shetland Baby Shawl continues.

shetland lace swatch 2

It’s 60 stitches long and 41 rows. I don’t know what it will block out to and I am looking forward to finding out. The motifs shown may make up the wide border of the shawl. I am kind of sold on the diamond at the very bottom, but am not sure about some of the other shapes.

I don’t know what the gauge is yet. I’ll take that measurement after it is blocked or rather dressed. I am going to test out an edging at the top after I finish the entire border motif. Should I keep this particular border I may change the spacing of the motifs. Right now I am planning on working the shawl “borders out” which means making the center first, adding break patterns and smaller borders with more break patterns, then comes the border pattern I am swatching. More break patterns then the edging. Picking and choosing the designs is exciting. Every element that goes into this shawl will be swatched first to make sure it works as a cohesive whole and that I can knit the motif without constantly messing it up.

Right now the swatch looks exactly like I envisioned it: frothy like the foam left by a wave as it retreats from shore. I hope the needle size continues to give me that effect after dressing.

On the camera front, I got the Canon EOS60D and I am loving it. All bad shots are my fault from here on in and not the camera. It’s not small nor is it light weight but I still love it.

The Charlotte Baby Sweater and Hat are almost ready to be sent to the test knitters. Monday I traveled to the not-so-local Joann Fabric Store and found the perfect ribbon to finish the hat and sweater.

lace ribbon

I all but squealed when I saw it.


Tie the ribbon in a bow, sew on the sweater’s antique buttons, which go perfectly with the ribbon, take some photographs of it all and off to the test knitters.

The word from my oncologist is good. Stay of execution granted. I am very grateful for all I have and don’t have.

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I spent the weekend knitting and ripping out swatches for the Shetland Lace Baby Shawl I am planning. I learned some good lessons.

Shetland Lace is not something I can knit quickly, which is okay because I am not a fast knitter. I am more of a process knitter than a project knitter.

Being a process knitter is a good thing when taking on a large project like a 54 inch Shetland Shawl because there is a whole lot of process knitting to be done.

Never announce that I need not to be disturbed for the next hour. It tempts fate. And in my case, fate always wins.

Before I try to knit a row densely filled with symbols for yarn overs, left and right slanting decreases, more yarn overs, a central decrease, double yarn overs, and a star symbol that I don’t know what it means, re-read the section on Chart Symbols, before—and that’s the most important word here, before I start the 60 stitch row.

When I lose my place in the middle of a 60 stitch row know that it means I really have lost my place and must go back to the beginning of the row every time. Do not wonder what I am going to do when the rows are 300 to 400 stitches long. Assure myself that by then I will know what I am doing.

Marvel at the fact that I am screwing up a pattern that is clearly charted and staring me in the face, while the Shetland women who made these wonderful shawls most often worked the patterns from memory. Entire shawls and stoles, worked from memory. I could just weep.

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Yarn Rascal On My Mind

The Yarn Rascal is not feeling well again. It comes from picking up and eating everything he finds on the ground inside and outdoors. While The Skipper and I are usually quick enough to save him from himself and remove whatever it is from his little mouth, yesterday he was just impossible to keep up with. He’d get something in his mouth and run away from us until he swallowed it. Then he’d come to us. Too late, damage done. He did this all day. Leaves, sticks, acorns, and who wants to think of what else.

I should have suspected something last night when Yarn Rascal sat in the chair next to me while I was swatching for the Shetland Baby Shawl and he did not try to get the yarn. He doesn’t have it in him to leave the Shetland yarn alone. It drives him wild. He sits and looks at it high on its shelf and whines for it. But there he was lying next to me while I sat swatching. He lifted his little head to look at me, his little eyes were so sad. I laid the swatch down in my lap, went to pick him up and hold him, and he vomited on the swatch. It wasn’t a big swatch. About 40 rows of cobweb yarn worked on size 2 needles. Who knows what it would have blocked out to. Though the correct term is dressing, not blocking, when referring to Shetland Lace. When I first encountered the term, “now dress the shawl”, the image that popped into my mind was putting it in a tux and bow tie.

My hope is that we don’t have to rush Yarn Rascal to either the vet or the emergency hospital. That he will eat and drink water and keep it all down. Then maybe I can steal an hour to begin the swatch again. I have 3 new patterns that were just sent to me for immediate tech editing too, so my plate is rather full. But my heart and mind are filled with worry over Yarn Rascal. I’d rather he be his rascal self.

If anyone knows how to help a dog to stop putting things in his mouth and then swallowing them I am open to suggestions. It feels to me that this is more than just a phase of puppyhood.

Have a good weekend everyone.

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My Undoing

The source of my undoing has arrived. No, not another Bichon puppy,

shetland yarn

the Shetland yarn from Jamieson and Smith. And fine yarn it is in many ways. The one on the right is Shetland Cobweb 1 ply with a little bit a of lamb spun in. Woolen spun, it is the traditional yarn used in Shetland knitting. The one on the right is Shetland Supreme. Worsted spun, it is 100% Shetland wool in a 1 ply lace weight yarn. I need to see how they both knit up before I decide which I will use for the baby shawl.

The day it arrived I was the one who took the long walk down the hill to the mailbox. Usually I go alone, but this time I took Yarn Rascal. He was in one of his over energetic moods that cause tornado-like destruction and I thought the walk back up the hill at a steady pace might kill him help rid him of some of that energy. I had no doubt in my mind that the pace I was going to set coming up hill was heart attack inducing for me, but desperate people do desperate things.

When I opened the mailbox there was the package. I knew right away what it was and a tingle of excitement quivered through me. The minute I removed the package Yarn Rascal knew what it was and began to leap, cry, and bark for it. I don’t know how this dog can sense when yarn is in a package, but he does.

Stumbling Walking back up the hill took more energy than I originally had in mind. It was hard to keep pace and wrestle a jumping, yipping, squealing Yarn Rascal. I kept saying “no” and “stop that” until I realized that I needed my mouth to breath and we were still short of the middle of the hill. Yarn Rascal, on the other hand, never broke a sweat. He bounced, yelped, and screeched his way up the hill.

When we finally entered the kitchen I dropped the leash and collapsed against the counter but not before I put the package well out of Yarn Rascal’s reach. My face was an unhealthy red color, according to The Skipper, and I could hear my heart pounding in my ears. But Yarn Rascal didn’t miss a beat. He continued jumping and crying, doing his best to get on the counter and at the yarn. I, on the other hand, was finished for the rest of the day; spent and tired. Lesson learned: Yarn Rascal’s energy far outweighs mine.

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Most of what I wanted to accomplish this weekend was done. Thank the powers of the universe for The Skipper’s two grandchildren. Along with The Skipper’s son and daughter-in-law, the 10 year old and 2 year old grandchildren came for a visit. The Yarn Rascal adores them and they love him. So while the threesome were busy tiring themselves out under the watchful eyes of parents and grandfather I was able to patiently concentrate and complete the tech editing, seam the sample set-in sleeve, finish the hat that goes with the baby cardi and block it. The only thing I didn’t do was sew the buttons on the cardi, but by then I was a bit tired myself. I also didn’t fool around with my new camera, but hopefully I’ll get to testing it out today.

The doctor’s appointment went well. When I receive a thumbs up after a check up from my oncology team of doctors I always feel like a weight has been lifted from me. I wonder if the feeling is similar to what a prisoner on death row feels when a stay of execution is granted? My Radiology Oncologist reminded me that I am not yet 6 months from my last radiation treatment so the extreme tiredness I feel at times is due to the radiation treatments and my pushing my body too far. The itchy feeling in the radiated area is also a by product of treatment and will go away with time.

With all that behind me, I can now turn at least part of my attention to finishing the Mommy and Me Socks I’m working on. The rest of my attention is for a project I was going to keep secret but have decided otherwise. It’s insane really, and I wonder if I should book ahead of time a room, padded preferably, in one of the nicer mental health hospitals in the area. I am planning on designing a Shetland Lace Baby Blanket using Shetland cobweb yarn. (Can’t you see Yarn Rascal with cobweb yarn?)The edging and border designs have been settled. I am now considering center designs.

I have been researching Shetland Lace, the patterns and the knitting. I have also been reading about the way a blanket is constructed, which led to more reading about ways of knitting, specifically casting on and picking up stitches. At the moment, I my research is incomplete and what is vexing me beyond all reason is why the entire library system in the county I live in has no Shetland knitting books. Therefore, I am combing the internet and ordering books that I think will help. The Skipper wondered if it wouldn’t be cheaper just to send me to the Shetland Isles. He didn’t mention a return ticket.

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I am off to my radiation oncologist today. I think they might be taking x-rays. Oh joy, more radiation.

On the home front, Yarn Rascal lives on. At the moment, he is happily destroying a cardboard box that once held yarn. His happiness is going to be interrupted as soon as I finish this blog.

This will be a working weekend for me. A 24 hour turn around tech edit for one pattern. Complete a test seaming of a set-in sleeve using yarn that I hate. Photograph the results and send them to the author. Complete the hat and sew on the buttons for my own design of a baby’s cardigan, complete the polished write-up of the pattern, and photograph said cardigan and hat so I can get them out to the test knitters and have it back by January.

Somewhere in there I will find time to do all the other household chores that need my attention and keep Yarn Rascal under some semblance of control. Why does this look like a list that is doomed for failure?

Have a good weekend.

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One Disaster and One Miracle

I had planned on writing a positive post today and while what has happened to me is a disaster there is another knitter out there who has experienced a miracle, reminding me that the universe is indeed filled with good.

Let’s get the nasty over with first. My disaster:


Yarn Rascal destroyed the Victorian Child’s Coat.


I was blocking it for a final time. I was to shoot photos of it for the woman I work for as tech editor. It’s her pattern. I still need to tell her what’s happened. I knit up this sample to donate it to the hospital and help women with cancer.

Now for the uplifting. Yes, miracles do happen and good does exist. The story is not mine, it is the Yarn Harlot’s. Please check it out. It is absolutely worth the read.

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