French Quilt Shawl Part 2

Today I started the third octagon for the French Quilt Shawl.  Since this is the third of three I figured it was about time I went stash diving for the next color.

I dug around but didn’t find anything appropriate in the right amount of yarn.  You’d think with a stash the size of mine it would be easy but nope.  So then I turned to my “to be dyed” stash and came up with these:


I’ll dye the blue to purple and the whitish to something blue-green/teal which will be for the connecting bits and the border.  I’m hoping to have enough of the blue turned purple for the edging. (There’s more of both of these yarns.)

Here’s my terrible, a two-year-old could do better, quick drawing of the colors of the finished shawl.


Pathetic, isn’t it? Drawing is not one of my skills.

Anyway, there will be 3 octagons in each color, arranged checkerboard fashion.  The connecting bits in the middle are squares and all of these pieces are sewn together.  There are triangle bits to fill in the edges except for the corners which are left unfilled. Then there’s a border which is sewn on and an edging as well, also sewn on.  I may or may not alter one or both of those to be knitted on.

Now these octagon have turned out bigger than expected as well as used more yarn than expected.  I know from experience that borders and edgings take more yarn than you’d think.  I may end up leaving off the edging, depending on how much yarn is left.


These are the two finished and blocked octagons.  Badly and unevenly blocked.  Mostly I just wanted to make it easier to sew together/pick up stitches.  And get an idea of what size they will be.  It’ll all get blocked again once finished.

They are about 15 inches across.  So two wide is 30 inches and 3 long is 45 inches.  I can expect to add another 8-10 inches per side with the border and edging.  So 50 inches wide and 65 inches long.  So much for not making a blanket.  It’ll at least be lapghan sized.

I’ll probably dye the yarn tomorrow.  It’ll take me most of the week (4 days on average so far) to knit the third octagon.  By then the dyed yarn will be dry and I can start the next three.

In other news, there was sweater knitting over the weekend.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to run out of yarn before the body is finished.  Not to worry.  That just means I need to spin and dye more.  I have plenty of the fiber.  When I have to set that sweater aside to wait for yarn, I’ll start the colorwork sweater.  And maybe one of the other sweaters I have planned.  Colorwork may not be good tv knitting.


French Quilt Shawl



The first octagon finished and blocked for my French Quilt shawl, adapted from a counterpane pattern in Weldon’s Practical Needlework.

This turned out much larger and used more yarn than anticipated.  I estimate that I can make 3 more in this yarn.  I had planned on 8.  But I now think 8 might be too big.  I think 2 more, for a total of 3 is better and I’ll have to find a new yarn to do 3 more in for a grand total of 6, laid out in a checkerboard.

I had debated doing half octagons and having the shawl be one and a half octagons wide but I don’t think that will look good.

Then I’ll have to find a third color for the in-between bits and the border and edging (or perhaps a fourth color for those.)

This is turning into a bigger project than I thought it would be.  Luckily, the octagons are fairly easy.  I’ve done 31 of 54 rows of the next one just today.  I’m up to 128 stitches per round and it’ll grow to 224 stitches per round so the rest will take a bit longer.

I’m still quite excited about this project despite the issues and despite my dislike of repeating my knitting.  Somehow these octagons don’t feel repetitive.  And there is the satisfaction of finished objects as each part is completed.


New Swatch and some misc


Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible pattern #43

So I did need an extra stitch.  But I only need it for one row so in the future I could borrow it from the edge stitches.  I wouldn’t need it at all if I was knitting in the round.


The first octagon in progress for my French Quilt shawl, adapted from a counterpane pattern in Weldon’s Practical Needlework.  By adapted, I mean not as big.  I’m estimating two rows and 4 columns of octagons, plus the little squares and triangles to fill in the gaps.  There is also a border and an edging.  An interesting though occurred to me while I was knitting this.  I could substitute any doily or round pattern, as long as I could block it into a octagon.  The gap filling bits could be anything I like as well.  I may play with this concept in the future.

I also went thrifting this past weekend.  I found 4 sweaters – 2 cobweb weight men’s merinos in green and brown plus 2 heavier weight sweaters.  I estimate sport to dk weight, both in lambswool.

Both are already unraveled and the black is washed.  I’m planning on dyeing the hot pink.  It’s not my color and is even brighter than it looks in the pic.  I’m thinking about some shade of purple or a toned down red/pink.  I want it to stay fairly light as I want to pair it with the black for a colorwork sweater.  Those vertical stripes on the black sweater were a pain.  Thankfully they were only on the front.  The good news is that they were intarsia and the yarn was not cut.  The bad news is that the yarns were twisted together at every color change on every row.  So I had to untwist them.  It took forever.

My Olympic spinning plans have gone right out the window.  I have spun a little but not nearly as much as I had planned.  I keep getting distracted.  But I am accomplishing things and I’m happy.  That’s all that really matters.

FO and WIP


A finished sweater and a new one started!

Both are Top Down Raglan Sweater Generator

Finished sweater is about 672 yards of reclaimed DK weight yarn.

size 8 needle.
gauge – 4.5 st per inch, 5 rows per inch.
42 inch bust – loose fit
Did neck band with size 6 needle, wrists with size 8 and garter stitch for bottom band.
Decreased every 3 rows instead of 4 on the sleeves.

I probably should have gone with size 6 needles for the wrists as the ribbing is a bit loose. Sleeves are a bit long but the cuffs fold up nicely and I may want that bit of extra length in the middle of winter when my hands are ice cold.

Other than the sleeves, the sweater is everything I wanted. Almost oversized, baggy, comfortable sweater. Much like the sweatshirts I’ve been wearing.  Honestly I’ve been wearing it for a few days and it’s so comfortable and warm but so far not too warm. I’m very pleased.  Oh and that lighter band of grey across the middle is not visible in real life.  I’m sure it’s probably there as the shades of grey did change from skein to skein but the camera picked it up much more than the naked eye does.  Or it might be my camera as it does seem to extend onto the sleeves and each sleeve was one skein.  Oh well, camera is old.

The WIP sweater is handspun corriedale, sportweight – ish with size 6 needles.  I used the comfortable fit instead of loose fit to make is a bit smaller. The first sweater is almost too loose.  Color is off in the pic.  My camera hates purples.  This yarn is unevenly dyed, the skeins were dyed at different times and some are almost variegated.  I’m just going to knit them as they come and if I don’t like it in the end I can always toss the finished sweater in the dye pot to even things out.

Sweater decisions

No picture because it’s the same as the last, just longer.

I tried it on today and I’m pleased with the fit.  Big and comfy.  It’s possibly a bit too warm until the temps drop a bit more.  Currently it’s in the 30’s most days.  Once it drops below freezing on a regular basis, this sweater should be perfect.

Right now, unblocked, it sits at my waist.  I need to decide how much longer it needs to be.  I’m planning 2 inches of garter stitch instead of ribbing.  I don’t want it to draw in at the bottom.  Experience blocking the dressing gown tells me that this yarn grows a lot in blocking.  Probably 2 inches or more on something that was already from my neck to dragging on the floor and that was I was just trying to flatten it, not stretch it.

It’s about 6 inches to where I want it to fall.  Subtract the 2 inches of garter and that’s 4 inches.  But that measurement is for the blocked sweater.  I don’t think garter stitch will stretch as much as stockinette so it’s really just the 4 inches I need to consider.  Do I knit 2 more inches and plan on 2 inches more in blocking?  It’s a very stretchy yarn so it can take a hard block if needed.  It could be a little shorter or longer in the end without a problem.

I just grabbed the sweater and yanking hard on it lengthwise I can pull it 10 inches longer.  I think 2 more inches of knitting will be fine and I can block it the rest of the way.  Maybe 1.5 inches to account for stretch in the garter section.  Can you tell I’d like to finish knitting this sooner rather than later?  I still have to knit the sleeves and I’d like to be done or close to done by the end of Thanksgiving weekend.

And I’ll have to make these same decisions for the sleeves.  Those will end in 2 inches of ribbing.  I’ve also noted that people had problems with the decreases being too slow in the sleeves.  I can see how that may be a problem.  For this sweater it’s 2 stitches decreased every 4 rows, starting with 91 stitches.  I’ll try that at first but anticipate having to increase faster after the elbow.  Probably a lot of trying on when I get to that point.

Sweater WIP


Top Down Raglan Sweater Generator – I just wanted a simple, top down, in the round sweater.  This one is free and so far, pretty good.  I wouldn’t recommend it for a beginner.  While I’ve not knitted a sweater before (unless you count the dressing gown as a really long cardigan) I do have a lot of knitting experience so the not very detailed instructions are not a problem.

The nice thing is that you input your bust measurement, needle size and gauge (it does require a swatch but I used the dressing gown as it is the same needle and yarn) and type of fit (I chose loose as I wanted it big and almost oversized. and then it spits out the instructions.  So if I wanted to add a pattern or lace or whatever, I would do my swatch in that to get the gauge and theoretically it would fit just fine.

Honestly, I’m happy with plain sweaters for now.  I have already started planning my next sweater out of some handspun.

WIP and Polwarth fleece


Sing a Song of Sixpence shawl – I have just started the 6th stripe.  The last increase row was just before the aqua stripe started.  I have 10 stripes to go.  I’m very pleased with it even if it feels like there are a million stitches.  It’s folded in half for the picture.  It’s actually a full circle. Hand spun and hand dyed CVM wool.


Polwarth fleece – This is 1 pound and I paid $22.90 including shipping from Raw Fiber Arts Co on Etsy.  It’s got little bits of vm throughout but that’s not a big deal to me.  It’s actually quite clean compared to some fleeces I’ve dealt with. I expect it’ll wash up to a bright white.  I was quite impressed that it was a full chunk of fleece and not a jumbled up mess.  It was easy to pull the locks and the staple length is mostly quite long.  It is so so soft and doesn’t have a lot of lanolin.

It arrived in today’s mail and I swear, all I was planning to do was take it out back, spread it out and take pics and then bag it back up.  I’m busy and/or it will be raining for the next few days and I can’t wash until Monday. Once I got my hands in it, I was doomed.  I spent the next couple of hours pulling the locks and bagging them up for scouring.  And I loved every second of it.  Well, at least it’s all ready for Monday.

In other fleece news, I’ve made an appointment at a new sheep farm for this Saturday.  This one has Cormo, BFL, Shetland and Corriedale.  I’m not sure what I’ll be getting.  I’d love to try all of them but her prices run much higher than the other farm (actually the new place has more normal prices.  The other place was super cheap.)  She’s willing to sell partial fleeces so maybe I’ll get a few pounds of several.  I won’t know until I see what she has and get my hands into them.