Gradient shawl in progress

I’m ignoring the loose loopy-ness on my pink gradient shawl that I showed you a couple of days ago, assuming it will work out in the blocking, and forging on ahead with a lace design.  Here is what it looked like before I frogged some of it. The top stitch pattern didn’t look right, but I ended up with the same results again, so I have modified the stitch pattern to suit my needs.

This photo depicts one and a half lace stitch patterns here, inspired by Barbara Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns, but modified from their originals to suit my stitch-count purposes.  Whenever this design turns into a pattern, I will be charting them, because as you know, knitters fall into two camps, but we ought to all be in the charted lace camp!

Do you prefer charts or written directions?


I’m lichen it!

I come from a family of punsters, so even though I probably could help myself, I shamelessly choose not to.

This project didn’t even last me until the true start of my vacation.  I finished it as I was stepping off the plane in Porto, since as is typical for me, I stayed awake through three movies instead of going to sleep.

(I mean come on, it’s only a six-hour flight, which is barely enough time to get settled and fed and watch some media before they want you to eat breakfast! I usually do the less than smart thing and stay awake until the last 30 minutes of my trans-Atlantic flights.)

This time around, after frogging my first attempt and deciding to orient the colors in the opposite direction, I achieved the intended result.  [Blocking still needed…]

Pattern: Lunar Eclipse

Yarn: Freia Ombre Sport

Colorway: Lichen

Ravelry project page: Lichen

Notes: I pushed the envelope to get the most out of this gradient yarn as I could, so I added four or five ridges on to the written pattern instructions before beginning the initial edging triangle.

Lunar Eclipse

Today is the 2nd anniversary of the release of my Lunar Eclipse pattern!  It is exciting to have designed something that over 850 people favorited, and almost 800 people have downloaded.  I know there aren’t many FOs up on Ravelry, but the pattern is out there.

This week I picked up a ball of Freia Ombre Sport from my stash pile and asked myself why I hadn’t knitted with it yet.  A while back, I knitted this shawl and had wanted to do it in the Lichen colorway, but it wasn’t available.  I love the South Beach colorway as well, but Lichen was speaking to me, so I purchased the sport weight and let it marinate in my stash for a while.

Having knit this yarn up into Lunar Eclipse a couple times already, it may seem silly to do another one, but it is so quick and fun!  This time, I had to follow my own instructions, since it has been a couple of years since I designed it.  That was an interesting experience to be sure, finding out whether I understand my own instructions.  So far, so good.

The Brisket Cable has been neglected in my versions of this scarf so far, so this time I’m making sure to include it.

Lunar Eclipse – free pattern download!

Over the past few months, I’ve been working off and on on this pattern, Lunar Eclipse, which has been a really fun exercise in what to do with one skein of luxurious yarn.

From the Mountain asked me to design something with a skein of their worsted weight cashmere, which is hand-spun in a fair-trade agreement with Afghan women.  The stuff is beautiful.  It is a soft, two-ply fiber in a variety of natural colors, including ecru, grey, and several shades of brown.

The final result was this initial offering:


And then Abby asked me to add two additional edgings:

You could add your own edgings to this template – we’ve offered it in three charted patterns, two originally from Barbara Walker and one from Book 4 of The Stitch Collection by Lark Books.

This is a free Ravelry download, so feel free to share, and please post your final project photos!

I designed a baby sweater

First of all, Happy New Year everyone! Second of all, here is a little something I designed.

This pattern grew out of a sweater that I knit out of my imagination one day back in January 2007. Finally it is here in professional form!

One Planet Yarn and Fiber released it just after Thanksgiving, as they told me they would, and I didn’t think to check whether it was up! They even posted a blog entry about it. You can see the blue version modeled by a little tyke on the blog.

A few days after the release, I left for Kinshasa again, with little to no internet, and then we were in the thick of the holidays, thus the delay in posting.

The pattern is written in 5 sizes and uses #8US straight needles. The recommended yarn is 2 skeins of Lanas Puras Melosa worsted weight. The colors used in the samples are cornflower (blue) and orchid (purple).

Peanut sweater

I took about ten photos between Saturday and yesterday of the nearly-finished garment, and all of them were badly lit or came out blurry. I think I need a tripod.

But here is a little bit of what I was working on over the long weekend, chez Mary and in between 30 hours and 1800 miles of driving:

The yarn I bought at SAFF and as soon as I find the tag, I will tell you more about it. The important qualities for me were

1) green (ok, it was supposed to be unisex baby color, but turns out it is more blue, so it’s going to the baby that we already know is a boy – I have no problem with switching it up, but I’m not sure that this is the case for all the parents involved);

2) superwash (duh, it’s for a baby! as much as my friends might appreciate handknit woolens, and as much as Elizabeth Zimmerman believed that everyone should have no problem handwashing them, I think it’s best to plan for sweaters that will end up with baby barf on them to be made for machine washing);

3) worsted weight (I seem to be finishing nothing these days, and not finishing baby items can have dire consequences – see Example A of Baby Who Looks Like A Sausage in the sweater that I sent 3 months late. My excuse: I was overseas. I am not this year.)

Example A:

Mary made a comment to me while I was trying to figure out the sizing on this sweater, “I can guarantee you that he’ll wear it at least once!” Wellllll. You see. As much as I love knitting, I would love even more to avoid the situation in Example A. I want him to wear it at least enough times to get thrown in the washing machine! And Peanut will be born in April, in Georgia, which means that there won’t be much cold weather for the first six months. So even though he is only this big

I think the sweater is probably big enough to fit a two-year old. Right.

The good news and the bad

Good news – we harvested a fig tree outside our apartment! And, blueberries are in season – I’ve picked some up the past two weeks at the farmers market, and they are perfect for snacking. I am sure they weren’t as inexpensive as those that Amber harvested, since mine were pre-picked, but I found out that a farm here will give you half the blueberries you harvest, no money exchanged.

figs blueberries

Bad news – I put on the first finished knee sock, and I think I’ll be un-finishing it.

It was a brilliant idea to add elastic inside the band around the top, but frankly I may have made the knee socks tight enough that they don’t need elastic.


Also, I was anxious to finish and I didn’t wait long enough to do yarnovers on my picot edge. On the left, the inside of my edging looks nice, but when I tried them on, er, not so nice.

picot edge elastic

My current plan is to redo the bind-off, based on what happens with Second Sock, which I am going to try without elastic. If it stays up, then I’ll save the elastic for a different project.

Bellflower Bluestocking

These photos are actually from last weekend, documenting some of my progress on the first bluestocking, which is really a knee sock.

From top left, clockwise: a) heel turned, side view; b) side view with foot inside; c) close up of bellflower design; d) not-so-great attempt to show where I increased for the calf.

a) b)

c) d)

The first knee sock is complete, but may require editing. I made a picot edging intended to enclose an elastic, to make sure the knee sock doesn’t slouch down to my ankles, since the lace would be a muddled mess and in that case I might as well just have knit a rib.

The picot edging worked out just as I had planned, but slightly too narrow for the 3/4″ elastic.

On the next sock, I may do without the elastic, even though I waited two whole days to finish the first until I could find some at Mulberry Silks.

This is not the first time I have used this style of picot edging, which I really like (not to mention it is super easy to work) but I would like to credit Lene at DancesWithWool for giving me the idea to use it to encase elastic for my stocking.

Here’s a question for designers and knitters

The question actually has several parts.

1a. If you were knitting a specific pattern stitch, would you rather knit it from a chart or from written-out instructions?

1b. If you were designing a pattern stitch, would you write it out or chart it or both?

1c. If you were publishing a pattern stitch and you were writing and charting it, would you chart it so that right side and wrong side rows alternated?

[Here is an example: stockinette. Row 1 = knit. Row 2 = purl, if you’re knitting flat and had to turn it around to the wrong side. Row 3 = knit, Row 4 = purl, etc. Thus the chart would look like this if k = knit and p = purl and we are knitting from bottom right corner:]


Here is what happened. I was knitting my Trekking sock from the work basket, and I was super excited to get past that twisted stitch rib that was so time consuming, and I wanted to incorporate this pattern – sorry, repeat photos:

sock lace

You can see that the triangles are either reverse stockinette or ribbed, which ought to be represented, triangles aside, as:

* = k on RS, p on WS
o = p on RS, k on WS


o = p on RS, k on WS


Right? Are you still with me?

But they were represented differently from what I am accustomed to:




And unfortunately I was so frustrated when I realized my mistake that I immediately unraveled!!!! so you can’t see that I ended up with garter stitch and seed stitch triangles?!?! rather than rib and reverse stst.

I am sure that in the introduction to the book indicated that all charts were intended to represent flat pieces, but tell me if I’m crazy when I expect the chart to represent the front side of the design, the piece that was photographed??

Bellflowers came from the same book, I’ll have to see if I can decipher the chart.


I’ve made some progress on the items in the work basket lately (see previous entry). One brown sock is finished, and I’ve turned the heel on the second.

Andrea asked about the Wyvern sock(s), a valid question as we had planned a knitalong. Oops. Well, here is as far as I got – one toe of a toe-up sock. The problem is obvious in the second photo, the problem being that not following the tutorial, never a good idea, may lead to unexpected eyelets. I considered continuing, and then thought – nope, this mistake does not qualify as a happy accident. It’s getting unraveled!

wyvern toe

And my plans for a new pair of socks, knee socks I think, are coming along, although I’ve got about 3 pairs to complete before I can embark on that. Around Christmas, I asked my grandmother if I should knit her socks. Of course, she said yes, even though I doubt she has plans to wear them. I liked the idea of designing some for her anyway, even if I’m the one to model them later on. I chose Gems Opal yarn in French Blue, into which I am going to incorporate this Bellflowers design.

blue bellflower

Some progress also on the baby pullover. I decided to go the extra mile and use a separate small needle to knit what will be the bottom edge, designed to roll.


And, oh yes, forgot all about that backordered yarn that magically appeared on my doorstep the other day. I swatched this teal Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed for Interweave’s Blissful Jacket. The teal is not as bright as I anticipated, but it will still work out nicely for this piece. I haven’t chosen a contrast color yet.

aran tweed blissful jacket