December 23, 2005


The Print O' The Wave Stole pattern is now available - click here to download the PDF!

I've proofread as carefully as I can, but please do let me know if you find an error or have suggestions for improving the pattern. Also, I haven't yet test knit the lace weight version - the numbers are fine, but the finished size and yardage are just an estimate.

I'm always ready to clarify or explain if you come across something written poorly - give a shout anytime.

Let me know if you make one, and I'll start a gallery!

***unrelated administrative note - As Elle pointed out yesterday, there seems to be a problem with search engine hits being redirected to a series of porn pop-ups. I'd love to tell you that I'm exploring career options and that it's not a problem, but it is - alas - a big pain in the ass (so to speak). It's being taken care of - my apologies to anyone who was offended.***

December 20, 2005

Print O' The Wave Stole




I wish I were a better photographer, and could properly express the delicacy of this piece - we're getting dangerously close to true gossamer, here. The way it drapes and ripples is amazing: a breath runs through it when stepping into a current of wam air; it continues floating for a moment after the wearer stops moving.

Pattern: My own (free PDF available this week!)
Yarn: Ornaghi Filati Merino Oro, in color 60 (teal)
Yardage: approximately 600-700 yards
Yarn Source: All About Yarn
Needles: 1.75mm (US00) Susan Bates Silvalume DPNs
Gauge: 18" x 60" finished dimensions
Modifications: --

See all entries on this project


December 18, 2005


Thanks for the nice feedback on the dyeing entry, guys - I'm glad you enjoyed it!

(A bit of administrivia - I usually reply by email to every comment with an address, but my mail has been acting wonky for a couple days now, trashing some auto notices and marking others as junk. I'll get it straightened out soon.)

On to knitting - what do you think?

I scrapped the idea for the English lace edging, and instead went with this slightly elaborated version of the central pattern. I can't decide if I like it or hate it - there's only the slightest of inner borders, one YO row and three plain, because the math for the edging worked out perfectly that way, and I have some persnickety issues with the edging itself (like, the center was painstakingly grafted to make the "waves" run in specific directions, but the edging will be continuous; and the relative size of the edging and center waves sort of bothers me).

This is an interesting process - I was really, deeply invested in picking out the perfect edging for this lace, not least because I'd complained so heartily before about incoherent patterns. It would have helped to have had more resources my disposal (the outrageously priced, wont-pay-that-on-principle Heirloom Knitting remains an object of secret deep-seated lust), but I think the real reason for my angst was (as usual!) a lack of planning before I started. Did I want a modern, simple rectangle? I should have worked a garter stitch border in one piece with the center. Did I want a shawl worked in the traditional Shetland method? I really should have picked all the motifs and done the math before I started. As it was, there were a lot of moments where I had to just shrug and go with something.

Still, the organic process here was, at the least, pretty absorbing. Pick up stitches! Choose an edging! Will they work together? Only long division will tell! Go ahead, do it, I dare you!

Who says knitting isn't an Xtreme sport? We should have our own Mountain Dew commercial.

On another note:

Remember these? Would it be unforgivably tacky of me to stick the three of them in one box addressed to my mom, grandmother and aunt? We'll all be together on Christmas, and I have absolutely no desire to go through the inevitable gift-autopsy (you much care/time/effort/money went into this? How much went into yours?) that will happen if I assign shawls to women. Better to let the three of them puzzle it out - the post-mortem will go on as usual, but I thankfully won't be a part of it. Opinions?

December 13, 2005

Mumble mumble

Those virgins I sacrificed last night must have done the job:

It is not absolutely perfect - the pattern is asymmetrical, so mirror images will never quite perfectly match up at any point in the repeat. Therefore, the seam (or, I should say, the location of the seam) is quite obvious, consistent or carefully worked though the tension may be.

It's not awful, though, and anyway is impossible to fix without starting over or busting out a pair of scissors, so it's going to stay. Lazy? Yes. Twelve days until Christmas? Yes.

The scarf is a pinned 40" x 10" right now, and will probably grow an inch more in both directions when blocked. With edging, final measurements will be something like 45" x 15" - a nice lace piece to go once around the neck and gather with a pretty pin, or to tuck into a coat collar.

It seems a very real possibility that all my Christmas plans will come to fruition. Brave last words, I know...

Meantime, my Kool-Aid yarn is striping sort of spectacularly (it was sheer beginner's luck, so I'm not self-tooting too much):

But I can't get over how bright the colors are, particularly when compared to the colors in the skein:

I was going for a beach feel, Derek Walcott's bleached sand and sky and sun. It looked right in the skein, but knitting it up turns the sand color orange and the blue more intense by contrast. I should have thought of all this - the color wheel is tucked away somewhere in my brain, I'm sure, covered in an inch of dust - but now I'm thinking that I still like it. It even still feels sort of island-y.

Finally, I've come to the conclusion that this is the absolute ideal pattern for working with a self-striping yarn. The diagonal lines hide the joins amazingly well:

So clever. I'm just so endlessly amused by these - I could see myself with enough new socks in different dyeing experiment colors for every day of the week.

December 12, 2005


Grafting is, I think, a revenge exacted by forces mysterious for knitting sins unknown. How else could the perspiration, the lip-biting, the mortal dread be explained?

I don't think there's any way around it this time. Look:

It would be a nice touch to have the waves flow down from the shoulders on either side. Since the halves are worked from the outer edge in, the only other way to join them would be three-needle bindoff, which would be bulky and obvious. Grafting should produce a flat, seamless fabric, if I do it correctly, and get my tension right, and don't pull out my hair in fistfuls or commit seppuku on a DPN.

On a happier note, I think I've found the solution to my edging woes. How about a variant on this, worked as an edging around a YO row or two? It would create a straight frame for the center panel, without peaks or points. I think it might look quite modern...

Steph - these photos show you what I did to dye seperate colors:

Basically, I tied off sections I wanted colored, and just dyed them in seperate pots of color. It's not any harder or more time-consuming than doing a single color, really, especially if you use a method like Diana's with mason jars in one pot - that way, you can do them all at once instead of having to wait between dyes. It could be a fun project with your son, mixing and combining colors.

Eek - I'm not sure what colors I used, exactly. My documentation for this project was really shoddy...I think it was something like

Blue - 3 packets Berry Blue, 1 packet Lemonade, sprinkle Grape
Sand - 3 or 4 packets Lemonade, sprinkle Black Cherry, sprinkle Berry Blue, sprinkle Lemon Lime
Orange - 1 packet Orange, 1 packet Black Cherry, 1 or 2 packets Lemonade. Half this solution was poured out to reduce the saturation of the color.

My regular grocery store is attached to the shopping center of a retirement community - I must say, their Kool-Aid section was woefully lacking. Where were my X-Treme FlavR Twistz? Where were my Kool Aid Tinglers? Clearly, our senior citizens are missing out on all the fun.

December 09, 2005


Baby Fair Isle colors:

We'll see how all this works out.

And don't think that I haven't been busy working on other things -

That's the first 17 repeats of the Print O' The Wave scarf, stretched for a little mid-morning preen. I love the fabric, I love the lacyness, I love the pattern - it is, however, a bit shorter than I expected. 20 inches for 17 repeats, when it should be at least 22"...there's some thinking that has to be done here. I've been obsessing over border and edging choices, like staring-at-the-ceiling-before-falling-asleep and dreaming-violent-dreams-involving-YOs-and-tatting-shuttles kind of obsessing, with the result of wishing that I'd just started with a plain garter stitch border and worked it straight.

Ah, well. The original plan has been slightly modified to include 20 or 25 repeats (depending on whether the length is livable), working the other half, grafting them so the waves flow away and down from the shoulders on either side, picking up the border and working it, and finally knitting on the edging. I'm thinking of a very simple frame of lace mesh for the border (is that the right way to describe it? You know, like where every other row is just "YO, k2tog, YO, k2tog" and it makes a fishnet kind of thing) and then a variant on English lace for the edging.

The thing is, I want the edging and the border to be unobtrusive (the better to showcase the center panel), but not so blunt and plain that they appear incongrous or - worst of all - clumsy and thoughtless. I'm worried, too, about the shape of the thing - am I knitting a scarf, which should be quite long, or a stole, which is wider and may possibly be okay being a bit shorter, or a little neckwarmer piece like the Fiddlesticks Whisper Scarves? Gah! Let the hand-wringing begin.

December 03, 2005

Christmas Spirit

I started the Print O' The Wave Scarf last night.

It took a long time before I could figure out a way to even up the edges - though the number of YOs and compensating decreases matched, the pattern kept migrating one stitch to the left with every row. After trying umpteen different things, I finally settled on adding another half repeat on either side - this seems to work fine, though it feels clunky and inelegant. However, the wonderful website that Jody referred me to (thanks!) had a couple of very similar patterns. They seem to incorporate the same idea behind their edge treatments, so I'm not going to obsess over it too much.

After all, there are always other dubious choices to be tormented by. Take, for example, my working needles:

That's a dime, friends, included for scale next to 1.75mm (US00) needles. Madness, you say? Wait till you hear this: I had four repeats done on 1.5mm (US000) needles, before I frogged and started over with the larger (hah!) ones. It all came down to the pattern - this lace looks better with every additional repeat; the pattern seems to pop and create this interesting ripple illusion when several of the "wave" columns are lined up. I definitely wanted at least four repeats - but done on US2 or 3 needles, the piece was a) huge, and b) sloppy-looking. That ruined the greatest charm of the stitch, which for me lies in the way very crisp, sharply delineated shapes successfully describe a rolling, wavey subject. I tried the smallest needles I had - the 000s - and was knitting merrily away when I realized I didn't like the fabric they formed. 000s are really for gossamer-weight thread, I suppose, and the lace was stiff enough that I had my doubts about how much blocking would relax it. So, then, on to the US00s it went, and we seem to have struck the right balance between crisp and lacy.

The only problem is, am I going to get this sucker done in time? Each repeat will give me about 1.25 blocked inches. I want this thing to be at least 54" long. Given 1.5 inches each of edging and inner border (a YO row and maybe a couple bead stitch rows), the central panel must be 48", or about 38.5 repeats.

Yikes! Leaving time to do the border and edging, I would need to knit at least three repeats a day. Can I do it? I still have a gansey to put sleeves on, the bag to finish, and at least three pairs of slippers to felt.


December 02, 2005

Up Up and Away

Floral Felted Bag

Last night marked the launch of The Great Felted Bag Adventure. I've never before done a sewing project like this, with fiddly construction and steps that must be planned in a logical order - when I do sit down at the machine, it's usually accompanied by swearing when I realize I should have attached the zipper before sewing the cushion in, or throwing the whole thing down in disgust when the thread somehow gets tangled around the presser, or insisting on complete silence as I meditate on the nature of the adjustment knobs and the mysterious forces they control behind a veil I cannot seem to penetrate.

Point? Oh, yes - I suck at sewing, but I really want the bag to be beautiful and functional, and am therefore dubbing this A Learning Experience. The construction and little mechanical details are proving to be sort of fascinating - everything flows in a logical progression, and you're forced to think about exactly what you're doing, and what comes next. I thought I could finish the interior of the bag and slap on handles later - but no, I'll want to do that before putting the lining in to mask the handle stitches - etc. etc. etc.

Unfortunately, I don't know how to do that cool extended-entry thing, and so am forced to subject y'all to witnessing the trainwreck/success story that lies ahead in The Great Felted Bag Adventure. Advice is freely and eagerly welcomed at all times.

(By the way - thank you so much for 1) the sweet comments about the bag, and 2) the excellent suggestions for notion sources. I'm actually going to head up to Baltimore this weekend to the Tandy store up there, for some discussion and possible decision-making)

So last night, I picked up some nubbly, rich shantung for lining,

with only a little bit of agony in the store. There was some cute pink pinstriped cotton, too, that would have made a witty little juxtaposition with the fuzzy jacquard, but would have instantly made the bag a very casual item - this (manmade) shantung has the right kind of heavy richness to go with the "parlor carpet" feeling we seem to have going.

I also backed the piece with some heavy-duty interfacing (seriously, this stuff feels like posterboard), hand-sewn in place and then ironed.

Once I got the hang of only picking up half the thickness of the felt, it was a breeze (though I started to wish I owned a thimble). The lining will look quite pretty, I think:

I've started to give some serious thought to handle attachment. What do you guys think of straps that run all the way around the body of the purse, buckled at the top to the handles?

It would obscure some of the flowers, but I think it might give it a tailored luggage sort of look.

Hardware and leather scouting are on the schedule for today - stay tuned!

Print O' The Wave Scarf

I'd almost forgotten about this project! To refresh all our memories, I'd intended a scarf out of some ocean-colored cobweb weight in a print o' the wave pattern. I had a hell of a time trying to find the lace chart - it is, supposedly, one of the oldest Shetland lace patterns, but it doesn't seem to have found its way into stitch dictionaries or the like. I could have purchased any number of patterns that encorporate the motif, but my stubborn streak reared its muley head - why should I pay $9.95 for a shawl pattern that leaves me cold, when this stitch was, in theory, handed down through generations without a chart? I could totally figure it out.

And holy crap, I did. I puzzled over different representations of the pattern, made the straightforward and unchanging YO zigzags my starting point, and went to town.

It worked! I can't believe it worked! There's some wonky stuff going on along the edges, where the stitch count seems to change every other row, but that's probably easily fixed. The fingers, too, could easily be made wider, I think.

I really don't know how lace designers do it. Charting this simple, ancient motif was pretty much blood squeezed from the stone that is me.

November 17, 2005


We all have to be good at something. I happen to be the clumsiest person I know or know of, including the gawky 14-year-old making my latte and the neighbor-guy who set his house on fire two weekends ago. Most people have a basic command over their limbs by their twenties, wouldn't you say? Not so your friend Eunny - yesterday, I was walking, minding my own business, when my legs just decided to suddenly buckle and I hit the ground like a Hefty bag full of vegetable soup. Not tripped by anything - not a misstep into a crack - just not having a handle on that whole locomotion thing. Anyway, my chin and cheekbone are a lovely shade of ground beef, and my hand is raw enough to be terribly stiff all the time.

The point is, not much knitting going on, what with The Claw, and all. But I've been busy! Remember the too-small felted vest? I blocked it with some gentle stretching, and got another couple inches out of it:

Now that it's completely square and even, I'll get around to making the cut one of these days.

And here's a design I like for the lace scarf, represented very poorly with my truly lame lace-drawing skills:

I was thinking three "strips" of print o' the wave, surrounded by a narrow edging of bead stitch and finished with a plain garter stitch border. It would be very simple, but all the more modern for that, and I do so dearly love the idea of taking a very old pattern and making it look new. I'm looking into doing River, too (thanks, Annie and Angela), but everyone who's made it says it can be monstrous boring. So...if you can visualize the print o' the wave scarf beyond the heinous drawing, or if you've made River, what do you think?

Postscript - I was freaked right the hell out yesterday when a woman stopped me in the grocery store to ask if I had a knitting blog and if my name was Eunny. Hi, Rachel!

November 16, 2005


I'm still working on the Peacock shawl...and the Peacock shawl is still a crumpled rag o' ugly.

Now, I need to make a plan for the rest of my Christmas knitting - I have a pretty good idea of what needs to be done for everyone, except when it comes to this:

Jeff's mom would, I think, like the color, and it's just enough (about 1,000 yards) to make a pretty piece of lace. I was convinced I'd make another Peacock shawl with it, until Jeff informed me that he thinks his mom might prefer a scarf, or a long, rectangular shawl she could wear as a scarf. This is fine with me - Peacock is a fun pattern and everything, but I don't know if I want to knit two of them one right after the other.

Maybe I'd do something like this:

the Corner-to-Corner scarf from the Knitter's Review shawl book, though I hate the idea of knitting the same repeat over and over for interminable rows. Then again, the second Fiddlesticks Whisper Scarf, with a few repeats added for length, ccould be mighty nice:

Or maybe I'll use this as my first lace design project, and cobble together some patterns out of a stitch dictionary. Decisions, decisions.

In any case, after I block the Peacock, I'll work on some other things before jumping right into MORE lace. I'll work on the Felted Floral Bag first, then finish up Dad's Gansey, and then, maybe, get cracking on choosing or making up a pattern for the scarf. Lace is excellent in small doses, of course, but lately I've felt it beginning to eat my brain.