Thursday, March 25, 2010

Despite yesterday’s good intentions, I got so depressed with my sloppy attempt at cotton-knitting that I abandoned it. I spent an anxious and unsatisfactory half hour or more cruising around in cyber-space looking for the ideal yarn. Does Lorna’s Laces Helen’s Lace come in a solid white? Can you get Jaggerspun Zephyr over here? What is “Sugar Rush” with which one of the gents on the jabot forum is knitting himself a jabot?

Then I calmed down and tried casting on the Heirloom merino lace I just bought. And I think we’ve got it. I’m not going to move the Progress Bar until I feel a lot more sure – but this could be it.

The clincher, with the cotton, was opacity. You can hardly see it, in some contexts. I can’t imagine it frothing up into the Bonnie Prince Charlie abundance I have in mind.

Plus I was making too many mistakes. It was like riding a horse you know is too much for you. Even if you stay on, even if you avoid making a fool of yourself, you and the horse both know that you’re not in control, and the ride is no fun.

I don’t blame the cotton. I think I guessed wrong about those numbers. Franklin has some nice edging patterns in the new Knitty, translated from 19th century originals. He uses “Coton Perle 12”. I don’t know if that’s relevant. I ordered “80” because it was less than “100” which Sharon Miller sent to swatch the Wedding Ring shawl with.

For a while yesterday I thought of reverting to the idea of knitting a piece of lace “about the size of a computer keyboard” (as another of the gents on that forum puts it) and trying to zigzag-stitch it to the backing. But for now, I’ll stick with tiers and go ahead with my current idea. The pattern in the centre is "Razor Shell", HK p. 59, as easy as a pattern gets.

Soul Warmer

Thank you, FiberQat and Tamar, for your help with the Sundbo shrug. I think I’ve got it. I will print out your comments and keep with the book. I am struck with your idea, Tamar, of not increasing for the body at all, or perhaps only very little – and I think that may be the way it’s meant to be done. I would want to knit the whole thing as a tube, with a steek for the middle, because of the lice. The edging, in the book, looks like fairly fine st st, folded over and hemmed. Very neat.

The pattern says – if “pattern” is the word – “The length of the soul warmer is the sleeve length + ½ the body width x 2.” Since the body width is the sleeve length, that should mean that the overall length is three times the sleeve length, and that is surely preposterous. Maybe that final “x2” should be “/2” which would give a length of ¾ of the sleeve length; not impossible.

The Estonian mitten book is splendid – just page after page of Estonian mittens with charts for the patterns. Two color knitting on four needles is tricky, but it can be done. I like an idea I read about on, I think, the KnitList long ago, of knitting a bunch of single mittens to keep in a basket by the back door so that people could choose non-pairs as they pleased on snowy days.

Shirley Paden’s design book is also very good, but doesn’t add anything to what I already had in the way of Montse Stanley and the Vogue book and a number of others.


  1. Jean - with regard to the soulwarmer, I have a strong suspicion that the designer means the overall length is (sleeve length + 1/2 body width) x 2. The brackets alter the interpretation significantly. So, we take the sleeve length, add half the body width - and then multiply the result of that by two. That sounds as if it would be right, I think?

  2. Dawn in NL12:27 PM


    Regarding the soul warmer,I think the confusion comes from the use of width and length in the opposite sense from normal. The length of the soul warmer is "sleeve length + ½ the body width x 2" means the length from cuff to cuff and right across the body. So it is correct as written, imagine the completed soul warmer folded in two with the sleeves on top of each other.

    The body part is a regular rectangle one side is created by the number of stitches you have on the needle at the top of the sleeve, the other side is the number of rows you knit to make it wide enough for your back.

    You certainly can do this in the round and steek for the body part.

    I hope this clarifies and is not as clear as mud.


  3. =Tamar7:33 PM

    The merino lace definitely looks better than the cotton. For a similar effect in cotton, you'd need many more repeats in the same width, on finer needles. Isn't wool more authentic anyway, for knitted Scottish lace?

    I like your idea of steeking the shrug opening.

    The shrug body _height_ (nape to bottom of ribcage, approximately) is the sleeve (i.e., tube) _circumference_. I've never steeked, but it seems that the steek (facing) stitches ought to be cast on extra at that point.

    For the length, Fiona has it right: the pattern says measure the length of one sleeve (wrist to shoulder), add half the width of your shoulders across the back, and that total will be half the length needed to knit. That way of measuring lets you know where to switch, if you are knitting a design that must be reversed. Dawn's suggestion is a good one: think of it folded in half with sleeves together.

    Now I'm getting the urge to knit a soul warmer. :-)