Not Grey

Toronto today is downright depressing. It is grey and raining and cold and the snow has all turned grey with the city dirt. The grey ground is poking through, and the grey sky looks down on it all. It’s the sort of day where you have to turn on all the lights in the house to try and tone down the grey.

I hate it. I hate it more than I can tell you. It knocks the will to…well, knit grey mittens right out of you. You can’t buck a system this big, so I’m not. Let’s just forget the mittens for a day or two…ok? I’m going to the mirror where I will practice staring directly and blankly ahead while saying (with every ounce of conviction I can muster…) “What mittens?” I thank you in advance for joining me in this exercise.

Considering how grey everything is, the very not grey Clapotis saw a little tiny bit of action last night. Amy, Laurie and (naturally) Rams had all suggested to me that I might want to carefully consider the addition of a border to the aforementioned scarf/wrap/ thingie.


Laurie wondered what would happen when the running stitches hit the “non-standard” border, and Amy mused about me confining that which should not be confined, since she worries that the border will hold in those stitches that are meant to expand. Rams, well. Rams just likes to make trouble. We will ignore her concerns.

Me, I laugh in the face of knitting danger. I giggle at planning. I mock concerns for my sanity, nerves and Clapotis. I do as I please and I care nothing for the overcautious concerns of the undaring. I fearlessly…well, I checked.


Seems ok, doesn’t it? We can dismiss Laurie’s concern out of hand. Each running stitch starts with a yarn over, so the stitch can’t run any lower than that, since the stitch doesn’t exist before that. It runs it’s merry little bourgeois French way straight down to my “non-standard” border, where it stops. No problem. To address Amy’s concern (which frankly worried me a little more, since if she is right I will have managed to knit a very large scarf surrounded by a very small border…which would have a rather vague er.. parachute-like effect.) I dropped a couple of the stitches and gave it a rather light blocking. (Yes. Right on the needles.) That seems ok too. Now, I suppose the possibility exists that there is a little, tiny bit of a chance that the border, while it can cope with two dropped stitches, will be singing a different song when there are many more, but for now I’m pacified. Those of you paying close attention to the “non-standard” knitting of Clapotis will notice that the stitches I’m intending to drop are purled. This saves me marking them with stitch markers and since dropped purl stitches look the same as dropped knit stitches it seemed like an easy way of keeping track of the intended victims. Note that I have used the words “fine”, “ok” and “easy” to describe this knitting project. If you have been reading for a while then you know that the chances that it will be “fine”, “ok” and “easy” have been reduced to about, oh….ZERO by me saying this out loud. In fact, it would probably surprise no one, (least of all, Rams) if this scarf/wrap thingie burst spontaneously into flames sometime mid afternoon, and was thusly reduced to (of course) GREY ash.

A big virtual smooch goes out to my buddies Ann and Kay, who brightened my day yesterday when I got an extremely cool “yarn bomb” in the mail. (This is proof that wrapping is everything, and why each and every time that I am tempted to simply drop something into a gift bag because I can’t find the time to get fancy uplifting tissue paper and wrap my gift it in a creative way I should take the time to ask myself “What would Ann and Kay do?”) The beautiful ball of greeny-blue Mountain Colors “Mountain Goat” was immediately ripped from its tissue paper chrysalis and cast on to be “The flower basket shawl” from Interweave Knits.


I originally thought this pattern was dumbass. I was wrong. It is cheery, charming, interesting (takes very little yarn) and is absolutely not grey.

For those of you wondering if I can bring myself to spin for Joe’s Giant Grey Gansey today?

I think you can answer that yourselves.

58 thoughts on “Not Grey

  1. Under the circumstances I’d have suggested knitting with asbestos, or at least spinning it, but it is…gray. (Which I normally do spell grey, but will vary just for the benign-irritation factor. It’s like not going to sleep so as not to freeze to death. Otherwise we’ll just sit and stare out at the gre/ay.)

  2. I am sorry it is grey there. we forgive you for not adding to the grey and therefore cheer you on merrily as you knit the beautiful cheery clapotis.
    which looks wonderful so far.
    i am a little farther south then you in Delaware in the States and it is quite sunny here and an amazingly warm 50 degrees which is a little odd for february but not unheard of.
    the grass is back as most of the snow is melted and my backyard is now one big muddy mess because my dog likes to tear it up… ugh mud… i think i like the dirty snow better.

  3. “February is merely as long as is needed to pass the time until March.” -Dr. J.R. Stockton
    What mittens?

  4. I have to admit, you don’t really strike me as a capelet kind of person…but I do think it’s a cute pattern. I like that it has the suggestion of fringe without having the actual single dangly threads of Real Fringe.

  5. What a great idea to knit clapotis and use purl stitches instead of markers! I may have to try that next time. I really enjoyed knitting the flower basket shawl also. I threw in a couple more pattern repeats than the pattern called for because I thought it looked “dumb ass” that short.

  6. What’s a mitten?
    The mountain goat basket shawl looks promising — but, I hate to say it, it looks pretty gray on my monitor…

  7. Dismissed out of hand! she cries, her hand dramatically thrown across her forehead. Actually I had the same worry as Amy but expressed myself badly. It remains to be seen whether many, many dropped stitches produce an oddly seersucker effect in your Clapotis. The purl idea is, as someone else noted, brilliant. Of course, some people purl more tightly than they knit so the ladders could be smaller …

  8. If Joe is willing to forgive you, and if you find it possible to forgive yourself for your shamelessness, then I suppose the rest of us will have to (grudgingly) forgive you too.

  9. The picture of the mitten yesterday made it look like you only had one or two rows left before binding off. I can hear it calling..”finish me Stephanie…finish me!”

  10. Grey. You said it, baby. It has been a wickedly bad day since I woke up and we are only half way through it. Surround yourself with as much colour as possible and soldier on. ( but I can’t forget about the mittens, we all love the mittens)

  11. I never would have thought of the Mountain Goat for the flowerbasket shawl, but it looks fabulous!! What a nice gift!

  12. We’ve had way to many gray days this winter, too. Nothing can bring you down faster than day after day of that gunk. Knitting with bright colos is the only answer and that you are doing. Love your FBS but I’m thinking you’ll be sorry about that border on Clapotis, too. The little purl stitch edge the orginal pattern creates is charming and helps Clap to curl and the curling is part of it’s charm.

  13. And what colour goes best with grey, I ask? Why PINK, of course! Tis not the shameless, brainless, Barbie-girly shade you thought, but a powerful, clever, womanly anti-greydote. Try it. You’ll see.

  14. I’ll probably really piss you off when I say I LIKE grey – I love rainy,cloudy,dark days. They make me happy. I kind of find the sunny weather I get too much of here in the south annoying. I want to come live where you live. You can come here and deal with strange southern people. They tell me I was born here so I must belong but I think they lied to me.

  15. stephanie, i am honoUred that you took my concerns so seriously. i think you may be okay, but i do worry that you’re kind of working the curl out of the clap, and that’s part of its charm. however, those are my own issues, and not yours. do not fear.
    (that cap U was for the canadians)
    p.s. SPINNING? should i give up and move on?

  16. Ah, the Harlot flies in the face of the Knitting Goddess yet again. Meanwhile, I just got yarn to start the Beth Brown-Reinsel’s Nordic Mittens from IK. Wish me luck!

  17. Do you know what colorway the Mountain Colors yarn is? I’ve been looking for a variegated-but-still-only-good-greens yarn to use for the Backyard Leaves scarf from Scarf Style, and this looks like it might fit the bill.
    Oh, and your idea for purling the dropped stitches for Clapotis to avoid using stitch markers is sheer genius!

  18. I like the “what mittens?” approach. You might want to try “what gansey?” next.
    The greyness is strong here in southern Finland too. A friend told me that she spotted a group of snowmen on a market square in the city, carrying signs saying “I’m melting” and “this is global warming”. When I was a child, at least we had decent winters.

  19. Thanks for the brilliant purl idea! I plan on starting clapotis after I finish my flowerbasket shawl – your clever tip is perfect timing for me.

  20. My mom made the flower basket shawl out of a much heavier gauge yarn and loved it! It was her first lacework and she was scared, but she did great. I hope you enjoy it, too!

  21. It’s 70 here in Virginia (no, that’s not a typo). If I send you some of my bizarrely warm weather, will you send some snow my way? I just can’t handle wearing short sleeves in February.
    Mitten? What mitten?

  22. I think that mountain goat is the prettiest green I ever saw. What a cool gift and it’ll be perfect for the FBS. One ball enough, eh?

  23. Mitten schmitten.
    is anyone else seriously amused that “mountain goat” can be a pretty colour? (I know, I know, it’s the yarn, not the colour… but it still sounds funny. To me.)
    I do love that green though. yum

  24. We’re grey here in Colorado, too. Snow, cold, dirty mud.
    I am relieved that the Mittens-We-Shall-Not-Speak-Of will be set aside for a few days–out of my great love and concern for the Harlot’s sanity, of course. Can’t have her go freakin’ wacko on us knitting a charity project. Bad for karma. (Not to mention bad for the Harlot.)
    However, I realized I was also giving in to a less generous emotion: fear. I’m leaving for California tomorrow, to go to Stitches West, and I won’t be back until Monday. I won’t have internet access. I’m going to miss several DAYS of Harlotville News. I might miss the Great Mitten Giveaway. I might miss, say, an email that says YOU’VE WON! And if I didn’t email back, then the prize might go to someone else. Horrors!
    And then I realized that the chances of me winning the Mittens-That-Shall-Not-Be-Spoken-Of are so itsy-teeny that *I’m* the freakin’ wacko.
    However, I think it’s hilarious that I’m worried about missing the Harlot while I’m gone. I mean, I’m going to a conference center full of YARN, fergawshsakes. Wheeeee! (Sucks to be me.)
    That Mountain Goat works beautifully for the FBS. I’m doing one in Tess Designer Silk I got at the last Stitches. Very yummy.
    I haven’t posted the last few days due to work thingies, but I gotta say that you Harloteers are incredibly generous, and judging by your gifts, extremely talented. WOW. Y’all rock.

  25. Mittens? There were mittens? Where have I been…
    (must not smile. must not smile)
    that is a lovely green. Very definiately not grey.

  26. that mountain colours shawl is very nice. Looks soft too. Maybe the knitting gods want you to knit colourful not-mittens for a while.

  27. I think you’ve passed the mitten thing to me. Thank you! (I’m planning on knitting them at all future gatherings with my partner’s family. He has a very large extended family. I will tell myself I am working on the traditional pair for the pig.)
    I have no idea why I am getting obsessed with mittens. I live in Sydney, Australia. I rarely even put my hands in my pockets to keep them warm.

  28. If it helps, it is grey here in San Francisco too (please take note whoever above said they’re coming to Stitches West). And, my urge to knit Clapotis is growing stronger daily.

  29. Mittens? What mittens? I know nothing of the “mittens” of which you speak. 🙂 Can’t wait to see how your border works out. I LOVE the idea of purling the to-be-dropped stitches, why didn’t anyone else think of that?

  30. Mittens? What mittens? I know nothing of the “mittens” of which you speak. 🙂 Can’t wait to see how your border works out. I LOVE the idea of purling the to-be-dropped stitches, why didn’t anyone else think of that?

  31. Grey, yes. Grey here at my house, grey at the chocolate factory. Except for the chocolate. That’s all nice lovely shades of brown. Mmmmmm, lovin’ those colours, especially that flower basket greeny-bluey goodness.

  32. Grey. Grey is why I am not fond of winter. Cold I can handle, snow ok, but the grey and gloom gets to me. I’m off to deal with my “mountain goat” jealousy.

  33. It was sunny and warm here today. yesterday was even warmer. Normally I would not gloat but what the heck…

  34. I have this horrible feeling you’ll finish that fourth mitten and then one will inevitably go missing somewhere like in the washer or on the subway, thwarting all your efforts. Beware!

  35. I admire your rebellious spirit. I have ripped out my first Clapotis attempt, a little bitty triangle. It took a week or so for my Noro Shinano to bully me into knitting it into Clapotis. It was gray, foggy and yucky, though 63 degrees F, in Alabama today.

  36. The clap looks beautiful… here, anyway. WHAT is the lovely yarn? I might have to do the FBS… but I’m not really a shawl kind of person…. what else could one make out of it? Maybe a ruana?

  37. Someone mentioned short-sleeves and 70 degrees in the same sentence. As any die-hard calforinan knows, 70 degrees is still unzipped-sweater weather!
    Although it is not nearly as cold and snowy (well, at ALL) here, I am sympathising with the sentiment because it is cold enough in my (unheated doors and windows open) room to make my sad carpal tunnel-addled hands HURT.

  38. We’re a little grey here in Western NY, too, but expect to turn white again in the next 24 hours…I feel your pain on the grey, those are my sentiments on the MUD! I wish it would get cold before the next snow!
    I too am in process of doing IK’s Flower Basket Shawl. I’m using Koigu handpainted sock yarn. I think your green will show the pattern better, it is gorgeous! Oh, I’m making mine longer, too. 🙂
    I look forward to checking out your view on the world every few days. Thanks.

  39. Okay, that’s two of you (you and Supergirl) who have said that pattern for the shawl is not dumbass. Awesome. Now I might have to go against my promise that February is Finishing Month.

  40. Mittens? What mittens?
    Its pretty grey in NYC today too. And its going to snow again tonight. I hate snow. I’m working on my bright blue pi shawl!
    Fabulous idea for using the purl stitch on Clapotis. I’ll have to remember that when I start mine.

  41. I’ve been lurking here for quite a while, loving your writing and your knitting, and it is that blasted Clapotis that has me emerging from the shadows to comment.
    I had snuck away from my evening’s activities on Friday to order some yarn to make it. I’d never actually seen or touched the yarn, but I suddenly HAD to make that damned Clapotis, therefore I HAD to buy this (ridiculously expensive) yarn. THEN, I checked to see if you had posted that day.
    Please know that I was able to sleep that night with less remorse about my impulsive purchase because your writing from Friday convinced me that there is a force bigger than I at work here. Right?

  42. What do you have against Wednesdays??
    Whatever you are doing, I hope you are having a good time!
    Missing my daily dose of Harlot,

  43. What is the name of that lovely green Mountain Colors yarn? I just love greens. Thanks.

  44. I’m with Amy. I have a growing fear that your clap will be misshapen – that it will have that stuffed shell / basket look to it.
    Maybe you should make a wee one…. take it off the needles, block it, and see the shape.
    Harlot indeed.

  45. My Flower Basket was a “drop everything, check the stash” project which became a Christmas present. I used a deep rose DK weight baby alpaca. The stitch pattern blocks beautifully, but it’s more oversized kerchief than shawl.

  46. There was an article in INKnitters over the summer, I think, about dropping stitches intentionally so as to make ladder spaces for weaving in yarn later on. I believe that article said that dropped stitches take up the same amount of space as 3 regular stitches. So.. in their practice pattern, they just put more stitches under the bit to be dropped & got rid of them before starting the “stitch to be dropped” knitting.
    That was pretty vague. But I’m sure you will get it. I am willing to bet money this border will work better with extra stitches under the drops. Say… $0.50?

  47. Yay! So glad you got the yarn bomb of love. Was frankly worried that it was going to end up in the TSF giveaway warehouse, which wouldn’t have been a terrible thing. But we were mostly wanting to thank you for your neverending slice o’ life. xoxox

Comments are closed.