Tag Archives: lace

So long, perfect record


Let me just start by saying that I have not been sick in about four years. I mean, I get hit by allergies in the spring and fall, and I get a cold every now and then, but I haven’t been stay-at-home sick in years. Well, until this week anyway. This week ended my no-sick streak in a big way. I missed three days of work; I went through multiple boxes of Kleenex; L made me soup; I even got to the pathetic point in sickness when you wonder if this is just going to be how it is now. I hate being sick, but as a knitter, it has its advantages.

On my first day home, I actually couldn’t knit. I spend the day wrapped in an afghan, intermittently reading and sleeping. I drank lots of tea and hot lemon (a family staple), and the next day I thought I was better. I went to work on Tuesday, feeling mostly okay. Then I went to work on Wednesday, and by the end of the night, I felt awful. I spent the next two days at home.

But, thanks to be brief uptick at the beginning of the week, I managed to make the week pretty productive. To whit: I am halfway through the first of my Christmas socks (a gift for my sister), I started a new shawl and am through the first chart, and I made a little headway on the much loved, though equally neglected, Spruce Jaywalkers. I wasn’t really planning this as a productive week obviously, so I don’t really have before pictures, but here’s what I managed to get done between sneezes and naps.

First, Christmas socks. I actually wanted to get these started a month ago (I swatched for them in August, for heaven’s sakes), but there always seemed to be something else on the needles. Anyway, on Monday night, when I was feeling a little better, I cast on the cuff for Cookie A.’s Daphne sock pattern. I fell in love with these socks when she first released the pattern, and knew it would be perfect for my sister, who always looks longingly at my handknit socks, and especially at the lace ones.

One of my favourite things about lace socks is that they’re a surprise when you put them on.

I’m knitting these in indigodragonfly’s Merino Silk 4-Ply Sock, a 50-50 silk merino blend that is very soft (and a little slippery) and perfect for the pattern. Although this is a fingering weight and the pattern calls for sport, it’s working out just fine. The colour is not quite as bubblegum as Cookie A.’s, but it’s certainly feminine, which you’d expect from a colourway called Don’t You Have an Elsewhere to Be? (Cordelia).

Here’s the expanded lace pattern. (I know this will be a good gift because I want to keep them for myself.)


I guess it makes sense that I started a few things this week, given all the finishing I did last week. New project number 2 is The Lonely Tree Shawl by Sylvia Bo Bilvia (hilarious name, no?). I’ve had my eye on this one since she released it a few weeks ago. It’s a free pattern, written for a worsted weight tweedy sort of yarn, and honestly, how perfect is that leafy lace for fall? Well, on Tuesday when I was in the shop, Claudia (the owner) mentioned she’d like it if I wore more garments knit from yarns we carry (I knit with shop yarns all the time, but socks and things are harder to see). I was trying not to shop for myself before Christmas, but this seemed like the perfect excuse, so I snapped up some of The Fibre Company’s Acadia – a merino, baby alpaca, and silk blend – in Douglas Fir and cast on on Wednesday.

The other reason I cast this on was because I needed something to break up all the sock action I had going on.

I just finished the first of three charts (the others are about half as many rows each) and although it looks small, I have faith in the powers of blocking. I’m thinking it will be a sort of warmer, wintry shawl, and chose the colour because it will go nicely with my dark red winter coat.

Finally, the Spruce Jaywalkers. I actually finished the first one in Nova Scotia, casting on the second during the plane ride back to Toronto. I fully planned to just buckle down and knit the second, but then other projects came along, as they do, and it just kind of stuck around. Usually a sock taking this long is an indication that I’m bored with it, but that is not the case here. I continue to delight in the colour changes and watching how they stack up, and this sock has been faithful TV and travel knitting when I didn’t have something else more pressing to work on.

One and a half socks.

The pattern is easy, but not so mindless as to be numbing, and the yarn is fun and nice to knit with. I was an inch or so above dividing for the heel when I picked these up, and now I’m into the gussets, so it probably won’t be long before this is a completed pair, which I’m quite excited about. I have another skein of this Fleece Artist BFL Sock already wound and destined to be a pair of plain socks once these one are off the needles – truly, I love this yarn.

And there you have my week. I’m feeling much better now, which probably means my knitting productivity will dip as I go back to my normal routine, but that’s okay – I’m over being sick.

Thanksgiving shawl


Last weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada and we spent it with L’s parents. They live about four hours away by car, which is a bit of a ways, but great knitting time. I brought the wedding mittens with me, but between the finicky knitting and the tiny chart, they proved too much for the car. Luckily, I also brought Oaklet, which was perfect car knitting.

After all my previous indecision, I decided to stick it out. I trust that the Fleece Artist knows what she’s doing when she dyes her yarns, and wouldn’t you know it, she does! As the rows became longer and the colour repeats changed length the shawl opened up and turned almost caramel in colour (it looks a little like a chocolate bar, to be honest). Once I got into the lace, the purples and the greens started to pop, and even though I still ended up with light and dark pooling, I don’t mind one bit.

The colours are perfect for fall, no?

The finished shawl is 49 inches across the top and 18 inches deep, which is – surprise surprise – smaller than I would have liked, but still an entirely comfortable length to wear as a shawlette under a jacket, which is perfect for fall. (I should note, perhaps, that I’s actually longer (though not as deep) than the pattern measurements, which is a first.) On the pattern notes, Megan Goodacre makes specific mention of the fact that her shawl took an entire 350 yds. Although I had two skeins of this yarn, I decided I only wanted to use one, so I stuck to the pattern notes precisely – and ended up only using about 3/4 of the skein, despite going up a needle size. If I were to do this again, I would absolutely add four or eight more rows to the stockinette section, just to gain a little more length. But oh well, now I have enough Earth to knit any fancy pair of socks I want!

I also kind of wish I’d added more lace.

Pattern: Oaklet Shawl by Megan Goodacre
Yarn: Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 in Earth
Needles: 4 mm Addi Turbos
Modifications: I went up a needle size because I may have finally learned that I knit more firmly than most patterns. Other than that, nothing!
Notes: If you decide to knit this shawl, when you get to the lace portion make sure to read both the written instructions and the charted ones, because they don’t entirely match at the beginning of the right-side rows. I kind of fudged this a bit and then just made sure my first set of leaves matched up so everything could flow from there, but you do have to pay attention to avoid ripping.

Mitten surprise


I’m thinking the only reason that Debby Bliss didn’t use that name for these mittens (she calls them “Lacy Mittens“) is because it was too close to EZ’s Baby Surprise. But really, these mittens are a surprise. Why? Well, because you knit them flat, and when you cast off you’re left with this, which to my eyes looks more like part of a baby’s dress or jacket than a mitten.

Photographed against a dark background for contrast.

It does become a mitten, though, which makes you feel very clever once you’ve figured it out. The figuring out part, however, certainly did not make me feel clever. Actually, it made me feel profoundly stupid, because I apparently can’t count to four, or read. I found this out when I started the flower lace part and one side of the mitten looked nice like this

This is right.

and the other somehow just looked like this:

Er. This is very clearly wrong.

What the heck? I would like to blame it on the pattern, which has no chart, but really, I suspect I just can’t count. Since that isn’t really a mistake you can ignore, I ripped back and then discovered something very particular about Kidsilk Haze: namely, that is very sticky and does not like being pulled out. Really doesn’t like being pulled out. In fact, some judicious snipping was required to make that operation a success.

Proper flowers on both sides, plus a flat thumb.

After that, though, it was mostly sailing, including the strange thumb construction and the subsequent seaming up.

There is meant to be a ribbon threaded through those eyelets at the wrist, but I don’t have any, so maybe you could just use your imagination? (Also imagine it blocked.)

These, like the Noro gloves, are not being knit for me, but again they were an interesting knit. Strange that the last two things I’ve knit have been deconstructed fingerless mitts, but there you go. As far as the Noro ones went, the pattern for the cuff absolutely needed to be knit flat; these ones, however, certainly did not. Honestly, if I were to knit this pattern a second time (perhaps someone I know will desperately need gauzy little gloves to wear to a high tea?) I think I’d just rewrite the pattern to knit in the round. There’s no reason not to, and I think the seam looks a little clunky running down the side like that (I’d probably leave the seam in the thumb, though, so as to keep everything as much the same as possible).

Not quite my style, but a success nonetheless.

Edited to add: I realized I hadn’t linked to the pattern in Ravelry, so when I went to find it I discovered there’s errata! Although this isn’t entirely vindication, since my problems occurred earlier in the pattern, it does resolve the problem I had later when my stitches didn’t line up with the pattern instructions (despite meticulous counting – you do not want to rip this more than necessary). I just worked around it to make it right, but still, it wasn’t me being inept, and that is very gratifying indeed.

Lacy Socks: Almondine is finished!


Can you tell I’m excited? I have been knitting these socks for nearly a month, which seems like a crazy long time for a pair of socks, but I am nonetheless pleased with the results. (I should perhaps add that I have not owned “lacy socks” since I was a very little girl, at which time their wearing was restricted to when I was also wearing a “party dress.” This history makes these socks feel very everyday fancy and fun.)



These strike me as the perfect kind of socks for Spring because the lace means they’ll breathe well and the merino wool they’re made from means they’re actually still quite warm. Also, as the weather gets warmer (it’s 16C in Toronto today!) I will return to wearing skirts and dresses and thus be able to show off my fancy work.

Right side, wrong side.

Right side, wrong side.

The pattern is, as you can see from the title of this post, called Almondine, and it’s from the book Sock Knitting Master Class by Ann Budd (the pattern is designed by Anne Hanson) – once I’ve knit a few more projects, I’ll write a little review of this book, but so far I quite like it. When I bought this book back in January, it was for two main reasons. First, I pretty much always have cold feet, so knitting socks seemed like an obvious way to keep myself busy and productive; after knitting a few pairs of basic socks, though, I decided I needed to spice things up, hence a book of patterns. Secondly, I wanted to expand my repertoire of knitting techniques, and it seemed to me that the repetitive nature of sock knitting would be a good place to do so. Thus, I have been making an effort to try new things. For example: I learned how to do the long-tail cast-on for these socks, which were also my first lace-work project. I also forced myself to concentrate on Kitchener stitch, which I had tried before but never felt very confident about.

Anyway, here are all the details:
Pattern: Almondine by Anne Henderson
Wool: Indigodragonfly Merino sock in colourway My Boyfriend had a Bicentennial (Buffy) – this colourway has almost a dozen gorgeous, subtle variations of purples and reds and pinks (my favourite of which was the cranberry-tinted mid tone) and I loved working with it. It isn’t a soft yarn, but it is smooth and even and perfect for socks.
Needles: Clover bamboo dpn in 2.75 mm

My Boyfriend Had a Bicentennial (Buffy)

My Boyfriend Had a Bicentennial (Buffy)

Modifications is getting its own line, because it includes things I learned about my own knitting strengths and weakness, as least insofar as they relate to knitting lace.
First, I suppose, it that once I figured out the logic of lace (the relationship between where a stitch is added to where one is decreased), the pattern became simple enough that I could put away the chart.
Second, that swatches are really important when you’re doing anything new. Maybe this should be point one, but whatever. I swatched this with 30 stitches on toothpick-thin 2.25 mm needles (as recommended) and ended up with a little tube that fit snugly around my thumb. Clearly, this was much too small, so I went up a needle size and delightfully found myself exactly on gauge. Imagine if I hadn’t swatched!
Third, when it comes to moving between needles, some connections are better than others. Knit to knit, fine. Purl to purl, fine. Purl to knit, fine. Knit to purl, loose and ugly. Because of this, I ended up with ladders along the “seam” of needles one and two all the way up the foot of my socks. In this pattern, it’s actually not noticeable when I wear them, but I know it’s there and I am annoyed. I have ravelled my solution to this.
Fourth, lace is really impressive. I knit these socks at home, on airplanes, in a bar, and at home, and everyone who saw them (knitters and non-knitters alike) thought them quite fancy. As a knitter, this is very satisfying and makes me want to knit nothing by lace in public (lesson: I am a little vain).

I will now, I suppose, learn lesson number 5, which is about blocking (something else I’ve never done). More on that once it has been (I hope) successfully accomplished.