Designing a Hap Shawl Part Two

I got the yarn dyed and dried over the weekend.  I cast on this morning.

Provisional cast on of 78 stitches.  Everything went smoothly and now I’ve knit 10 rows out of 156.  I decided to measure things.  10 rows still equals 1 inch.  That’s good.  But 78 stitches measures 21.5 inches, not the 18.5 that I estimated.

Now what do I do?  All of my calculations are based upon 78 stitches.  But it now appears that my center “square” will measure 21.5 X 15.6 inches – far from square.  Could blocking really help that out?  Does it have to be square?  Perhaps the border/edging will help things look more square.

The border will be 78 stitches per side.  So the inside of it has to be square.  It’s wavy so as it pulls on the center, the edges of the center would never look straight.  In theory, then the border would make the center look/be more square.  It’s a 6 inch difference between sides so I’m not sure how that theory would hold up in practice.

I guess that the only thing to do it to try it.  As long as I don’t cut any yarn, I can unravel and try again without any yarn loss.

Swatches lie.

Quit While You’re Ahead


Sometimes you just have to quit while you’re ahead.  I’ve been working on the Vinorina Shawl this week.  It’s been tough going.  A lot of through the back loop stitches (both knit and purl) plus some overly complicated cables.  I’ve slogged through it until last night when I finally made a mistake I couldn’t fix.  I was faced with tinking back several rows or frogging it.  Despite 400 or so stitches on the needles and more than 30 rows done, I frogged it.  And I have no intention of starting over.  I simply wasn’t enjoying the knitting and didn’t love the finished project enough to tough it out.

Sometimes the hardest part of knitting is knowing when to say enough is enough and admit that a project just isn’t working for you.

In other news, I’m in fleece limbo.  First my shepherdess had to cancel a visit and then I had to cancel the replacement visit and now I can’t get ahold of her.  I did buy a pound of Polworth on Etsy.  It hasn’t shipped yet.  I’ve also been looking into other sheep farms in the area and have a few to call.  I’m hoping to visit one or two this weekend.

More Ramblings

No fleeces yet.  Our plans fell through last weekend.  My shepherdess is difficult to get a hold of but I’m hoping to get them this weekend.  I did get the rest of the Corriedale re-scoured.  It’s looking and feeling good.


The only other things to show are more swatches.  This batch had some issues.  I had to chart and rework some of them to get them to actually work.  And some still have issues that I need to look into.  The next one on the list had 2 separate instructions in 2 different books.  The first set just did not work.  The second set looks like it should but the proof will be in the swatch.

After that one I have to transcribe/translate some more before I can knit more swatches.  I also have to figure out some way of organizing them.  I’m thinking of printing each set of instructions and putting them with the swatch into plastic sleeves in a binder.  Sort of my own custom stitch pattern book.

Random Ramblings

Life has suddenly gotten busy and a bit chaotic.

My shepherdess is shearing this Friday.  It’s a bit early due to scheduling issues with her shearer.  Honestly it’s about 2 weeks earlier than i was expecting.  Ack!  I’m not ready!  But in any case, we’re heading out on Saturday afternoon to get my fleeces.  And she mentioned that she’s got a floor loom up in her attic and wondered if I might be interested.  Of course I’m interested.  I’m just not sure if I have the room or if I can afford it.  But knowing her, she’ll just give it to me since it’s just taking up space and she has no interest in it.  It’s all in pieces too.  As for room…if it’s not too big, we’ll find room.  If she does set a price and I can’t afford it, I’ll offer to take it and sell it for her, since she’s not online.

So I planned all of that on Monday afternoon.  Monday evening we get the news that my father-in-law needs to stay with us this weekend, which is half of my chaos.  We never have anyone to stay so there’s unusual cleaning to be done (like vacuuming out the couch since that’s where he’ll sleep and washing bedding.)

It won’t interfere with going to get my fleeces but it definitely puts a twist into our lives.

I discussed what fleeces I might like with my shepherdess and she suggested a Teeswater/BFL cross.  I’ve researched it and I think she might be right.  I suspect I’m going to spend some time dipping my fingers into many different fleeces.  I’ve got a lot more knowledge and experience since my last longwool fleece and I should be better able to judge what I might like. And I’ll probably come home with more fleece than I intended.  It’s those wool fumes.

Fleeces aren’t allowed into the house until they’ve been scoured.  They live in the garage until then.  That’s my husband’s domain and while he says he doesn’t mind I always feel guilty leaving them out there for too long.  Plus I can’t play with them until I’ve scoured them.  The weather looks to be on the low end of acceptably warm enough to scour next week.  I can only hope the forecast is at least right, if not underestimating the temps a bit.  But if I do get to scour, a post next week is questionable.  When I’m scouring I spend the majority of the day outside and I’m exhausted by the time I’m done. This will last for a week to two weeks, depending on weather and amount of fleece.  I need to start with re-scouring that Corriedale from a few years ago so that will only add to the time.  Post may be scarce for a bit.

I’ve started swatching stitch patterns from those Victorian era books.  There are often pics but they are usually engravings, drawings of the knitting, and not photos.  They sort of show what things should look like but you really need a swatch to be sure.  Plus a swatch sorts out any transcribing or translation errors.  The instructions don’t use the same terminology or abbreviations that we do today which can be confusing.  One pattern had a few stitches that it said to repeat 4 times.  When I knit it the stitch count didn’t work.  It turns out that they meant, repeat those stitches 4 MORE times, for a total of 5.


So that’s 5 down and I think 5 to go and that’s only the ones I’ve transcribed and translated.  There are many more that I’m interested in.

Down the road there will be project designs with these stitch patterns

I believe I mentioned that there is also macrame in some of these old books.  I gave it a shot and I’m quite pleased.  I think I might do more and frame them to hang on the wall.


Random Ramblings

Once again I don’t have any WIPs worth showing.  I’ve been busy with a lot of things other than knitting.

First up, there was an estate sale this past weekend that had some spinning and knitting items (and a whole lot of quilting stuff).  I picked up some Elizabeth Zimmermann books and a stack of Spin Off Magazines, plus some fiber.  I think the fiber is Alpaca.  It wasn’t labeled.


It’s brown/black and I’ve started spinning some on a spindle to ply with some mystery fiber I spun back when I started spinning.  More of this will be plied with some other fiber I got at the same time that I’m still spinning on a spindle.

I kept one of the Zimmermann books but I’m selling the other two, along with some other books and magazines I no longer want.  I’m not a sweater knitter so much of Zimmermann’s books aren’t useful to me.

If you’re interested in buying any of this, here are some links:

Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann 1971

Everything else which includes Polymer Clay books, Lapidary Journal Magazines, Bead Unique Magazines, Art Jewelry Magazines, Expression Magazines.
Lately I’ve been getting tons of books from my library’s Interlibrary Loan system.  The latest batch included 6 volumes of Weldon’s Practical Needlework.  Wow, there is some amazing stuff in there and not just the knitting.  I’m quite intrigued by the Victorian era macrame.  It’s not much like the 1970’s macrame.  I’m thinking of giving some of it a try.  Anyway, the original Weldon books are public domain and I spent most of last evening trying to find them online for free.  No luck on those specifically but I found oodles of other needlework (knitting, crocheting, macrame, tatting, netting, embroidery, etc) books from the same era.
I find that I’m not very interested in knitting patterns these days.  I’m much more interesting in stitch patterns to make my own patterns.  There are plenty of stitch patterns in these old books and even some of the patterns might be interesting to make.  They’re very different from modern designs.  The only problem is deciphering the instructions.  Terms were different then and not consistent between authors (and sometimes patterns from the same author).  And the way things are printed makes if difficult as well.  Instead of each row being on a separate line, everything just runs together.  I’ll have to copy the instructions out, translating the terms to modern usage and separating the rows to make it easier to read.  It’ll be something to do when it’s too hot to knit this summer.

Random Ramblings

I don’t have any WIPs to show this week.  I’m rather disenchanted with all of my WIPs as well as not feeling inspired to cast on anything.  I did work on a few things here and there but not enough progress on any one things to make it worth showing.

Instead of knitting I’ve been catching up on plying some unraveled sweaters.  I had two bins of partially plyed and another bin of two sweaters I wanted to ply together (they were very similar in color and fiber content.)  They need washing before they are ready for measuring, caking and then use.  Not that I have anything planned for any of them.  I found them all during my recent organizing spree and just wanted to get them out of the way.  I’d prefer to keep it to one unraveling/plying project at a time.  And I’ve got enough sweaters that aren’t yet unraveled to keep my busy for quite some time

I’ve also been taking advantage of my library, locally, as well as the extended local and the statewide inter-library loans.  I will have had nearly 50 knitting/spinning/dyeing books pass through my hands by the time I’m done.  I’m making an Amazon wishlist of books I want to purchase.  I’ve found that online reviews are great for seeing if I might be interested in a book, but I really need to get it in my hands to look through to really know if I want to own it.

I’m finding that I’m interested in stitch pattern books more so than knitting pattern books.  I think I’ve reached a point where I’d rather design my own patterns for a lot of things.  Or that I’ve already got too many patterns in my Ravelry queue and have no interest in adding more (this would mostly apply to complicated lace shawls.)  I’m not interested in knitting socks or sweaters and cowls and hats are fairly easy things to design myself.  I do want to branch out into shawl design at some point.  I seem to have a gap in my shawl pattern collection.  They’re either very simple or very complicated.  I don’t seem to find ones in the middle that interest me.  So I’ll have to design them myself.

I’ve set myself a schedule of sorts.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are fiber days.  That means that at some point in the day I work on fiber for as long as my body will allow.  After that it’s back to knitting or whatever I’m doing that day.  I’ve kept this schedule for about a month and so far I’ve finished combing the purple dyed Corriedale and gotten a start on the blue dyed Corriedale.  I’ve finished combing the Merino from Hawaii.  I’m still waiting for the weather to be warm enough to re-scour the rest of the Corriedale.

Well, I think that’s enough rambling for today.  Hopefully my knitting mojo returns and I’ll have WIP progress to show next week.

Random Ramblings

Does anyone else’s brain just suddenly go “Nope!” while they’re knitting?

I’m on the third consecutive day of working exclusively in my colorwork cowl design.  I’m about 2/3 through knitting it.  Last night I really hit a groove.  My fingers knew what movements to make to knit each color without me having to think about it much and I was knitting along nearly as fast as I would with one color instead of two. Today started out the same but all of a sudden my fingers aren’t doing the right things.  If I’m supposed to knit 2 black stitches next I end up knitting 2 color stitches or vice versa.  I immediately notice, of course, and tink back to fix it.  It’s just weird.  The last time it happened I distinctly remember thinking “knit 2 black” but I knit two color stitches.  My hands just did the opposite of what they were supposed to do.

This happens on shawls too.  For example, let’s say the lace pattern is a 10 stitch repeat and it’s repeated a dozen or more times across the row.   The first two repeats set the pattern into my memory and I merrily knit along without having to look at the pattern.  On the 10th repeat, all of a sudden, I can’t remember what stitch comes next and have to check the pattern, even though I knit the repeat from memory just fine 10 seconds ago.

I don’t know what the problem is, brain fatigue maybe.  It’s just weird.

In other news, it’s been five days since I released my first pattern and while it’s not gone viral, it’s not been ignored either.  I’ve had two people buy it and more than 40 favorite it.  I’m pleased.

I’m not really looking to make money from my patterns.  It’s more to give back to the community.  Although I am hoping to make about $50 a year.  Yes, a year. That gives me enough money to buy my fleeces every spring.  Anything I make beyond that is unplanned.  Come to think of it, I might spend any extra on needles.  I’d like to have 47 inch circulars in every size and several in some sizes.  I have some but not as many as I want/need.