The truth about Birch

It’s all worth it.


Every single stitch,


each little leaf,


the 299 stitch cast on,


the multitude of ever decreasing rows that go on forever and ever. The way that the last 50 rows take a million hours longer than the first 50 (even though they are shorter…so I don’t know what’s up with that.) The physics lessons….

All worth it. Beautiful. I forgive it everything.

Rowan # 34, 2 and 1/3rd balls Rowan crack Kid Silk Haze in “Jelly” (What kind of Jelly is that colour?) , 4.5mm needles.

(Photo’s taken this morning in Toronto’s High Park, not, as Stephanie suggested, at my house. Though damn, aside from the mowing, that would be a sweet backyard.)

102 thoughts on “The truth about Birch

  1. We think it’s worth it too.
    Steph, you are quite the pusher/enabler. I’m now looking at some silk/cashmere laceweight and thinking, hmmmmm…..birch……….
    Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous.

  2. Your birch is absolutely gorgeous! The pictures are stunning and so artistic! What a lovely setting!
    And as for the last 50 rows taking way longer than the first 50 — isn’t that sort of like being pregnant? The 9th month lasts longer than the previous 8 months put together!

  3. Well, isn’t that pretty! What is it about a finished project that makes you forget all the hell you went through to get to that point? Must be some mysterious knitting spell. Are those pictures taken at your house? It is truly beautiful – I’d kill for that view (not you though!) I haven’t seen that much water since my last trip to the ocean (we don’t have water like that in Wyoming). Congrats on a finished Birch, what’s next?

  4. Wow. That’s just lovely. You know, you’re not helping. Not. One. Bit. Because my LYS has KSH veddy veddy cheap if I noted the price correctly, and even though I swore I wouldn’t make that shawl, Cassie can now mock me, because I might just have to walk by that store on my lunch hour and, well, you never know what might happen. Damn. 299 stitches? Really? Ugh. That might make me a little birchy.

  5. Your Birch looks wonderful. I get what you say about the black holes and such but still, you finished it up pretty quickly!

  6. Birch is gorgeous! My mom made mint jelly, jalapeno jelly (which my little brother accidentally put on a peanut butter sandwich- wish I’d had a video camera!), and sweet pepper jelly which were all close to that shade.

  7. What a beautiful Birch! Worth it, worth it, worth all the trouble. I can feel the pull to make one of my own.
    “Jalapeno jelly is that color,” said the girl from Arizona, “It’s quite delicious; you should try it.”

  8. Stephanie, you are such an enabler. I bought four skeins to make the Birch after seeing yours and because I’m tall and plush/ample, I will cast on enough to make it 8-10 inches wider at the top… we’ll see how it all turns out. And if there are problems along the way, I’ll blame you!
    Just kidding!

  9. Ahhh how lovely! Oh .. the shawl too! Hmmm. Lace. 3 balls of Kidsilk crack that I won from Jeannette hmmm. AHHH must resist!!! Must knit book projects!! Ahh when will I ever be able to knit for myself again!!??
    My Mother’s Kiwi jelly is that colour! Yeah who knew Kiwi Jelly, from kiwi’s grown in northern New Jersey none the less!

  10. Congrats on reaching the knitting escape velocity! My finished Lotus (thank you for the encouragement… oh, a YEAR AGO when I bought this pattern) is saying “Namaste” to your finished Birch.
    It’s Lovely, Steph! Just freakin’ LOVELY!! Already your shawl has been getting out into nature more times than I this week… Time to start catching up.
    And, I think maybe some kinds of luminescent jellyFISH are that color? Or, how about granny smith apple jelly? 🙂
    Ooh, or antifreeze jelly?

  11. It’s stunning. I’m so in love with that colour.
    I’m jealous you’re at High Park, I’ve always wanted to go.
    Someday, when I’m not making Sophie Bags as a fundraiser, I’ll knit something that detailed. Someday…

  12. on the weekend i looked at the yarn harlot blog from a different computer and discovered that once again many pictures and colours look different on my mac:( On my computer the birch is so faintly green that at first i thought it was beige. Imagine my surprise to discover that it is actually a very nice colour of green.

  13. Smashing! Accompany it to a lovely dinner at someplace pricey so that it may receive the admiring glances it deserves.
    As someone who is already drawn to anything with a leaf on it, this is a hard project to resist. Perhaps a visit to my LYS is in order for tomorrow.

  14. Swoosh! she’s through another one. Your knitting prolificness is astounding. How you get all you do into the same 24 hours we have I don’t know.
    I’ve just found you and went back to read all the back entries (cuz I’m weird like that). So bummed that I missed you as you swept through New England already.
    Your December entries from last year have inspired the beginnings of this Christmas NOW, and thank you for that! Mom will love the Anatolian mittens. Cheers!

  15. Oh great. There is no fricking mercy in this damn knitting blog world. Anne brought me knitting books. Margene showed me her sock knitting. I hate all of you. I am going out in the garden and … say, you know, that birch/mint jelly color would be pretty in the garden. Stop it!!

  16. I’m not sure about this, but i think apple jelly (a rareity among jellies) is green. Or it could be gold….like applejuice…anyway, beautiful birch, it looks soo soft and cuddly!

  17. Birchin’, dude!
    Well, now I know where I have to go for MY Birch photo shoot. Lovely, lovely pics, and I’m going to have to go get some KSH in that color. MMmmmmmm.

  18. What do you mean, aside from the mowing? That right there is a reason to get a few angora goats!
    Gorgeous shawl!

  19. Stunning. Kid silk haze is such amazing yarn. The knitting black hole picture and description were perfect. I am looking forward to your visit to Stash in Berkeley, California.

  20. Beautiful absolutely … what else can you say… it’s one of the loveliest pieces I have seen! I am going to give lace a try…. although I am not sure I have the patience for it I’m going to give it a go.

  21. Mighty pretty lacy knitty, Miss Stephanie!
    Breezy leaves of silky wool,
    Coolness knit of whisper green air
    Green with envy I am of thee
    To have “Birched” escape velocity!
    Ack. I just ordered 3 balls of KSH in pearl.

  22. Well, at least you kept it clean. I was semi-expecting a shot of Birch on one pillow, you and a cigarette on the other, smiling…
    And the OED ought to moniter this site — I hear Cracksilk Haze becoming common usage. You should be hearing from Rowan’s legal department soon.
    Congratulations, though, on generating summer — bet the possession of a completed silk-mohair shawl sends the mercury through the top of the thermometer.

  23. I seem to have successfully avoided pointing out the obvious — like how beautiful it is…

  24. I was thinking, “Damn, Stephanie has a nice yard. She even has some sort of Asian statuary,” until I saw the lake. Silly me!
    Gotta say, I have no use for shawls, and would probably never wear one (still only where Clapotis around the house), but you make them seem so necessary… and beautiful.

  25. Reading you and Cassie birch about the experience, I’m so glad I didn’t have to make mine, but got it as a present. I do think I apreciate that fact now even more so. It’s gorgeous. Natch.

  26. Reference: page 235 of bookbookbook.
    You don’t look the least bit dorky, but in case you feel that you do – please feel free to send Birch to me.

  27. Beautiful work, love!
    However, I now have a craving for toast and jelly w/tea while knitting a lace shawl.
    Crap. All of which I can’t have/do while I’m at work.

  28. Beautiful. All of it, the background, Birch, the photography. I have some shawls to photograph, perhaps I should just send them to you.

  29. Your Birch looks lovely! I have some “Jelly” in my closet, and am thinking about doing something pretty and lacy with it . . . and am trying to convince myself that I do NOT need another Birch! And yet . . . they’re so very pretty!

  30. That’s the most beautiful Birch I’ve ever seen. I think you’ve inspired me to do my own.

  31. I agree with every word! Your Birch is, well, just stunning. I dare you to leave it home any time you leave the house. Can you do it? I haven’t been able to yet.

  32. Simply spectacular. Never cared for knitting shawls but I’m being converted.

  33. Wow!!!! And Annie’s right- Angora Goats. Then you have your own personal source of mohair! I got 3 kids a few weeks ago and they are beyond sweet! Back to your Birch- wow!

  34. Dear Stephanie- My friend Pat has just finished her third Kiri/Birch, and I have to say, there is no way you can go wrong with any of the colors!!! She’s finishing “Candy Girl” now, and it is too scrummy for words.
    P.S. I think it’s jelly made out of Kermit the Frog.EEEEEEEEWWWWWWWW!!!!!

  35. What a happy rock that gets to wear Birch. I adore the colour. I wish mine was that green. Now you get to say “The Birch is always greener on another’s side” and I’ll laugh.

  36. ‘Tis absolutely beautiful! It was definitely worth it.
    I bought some Jelly KSH several years ago and always wondered about the name myself.

  37. Beautiful shawl! Now I’m really anxious for my Kidsilk Haze to arrive so I can start birching too.

  38. Ooh, almost forgot. In case anyone else hasn’t said this already: congrats, over 500 Bloglines subscribers. Impressive 🙂

  39. Isn’t mint jelly that color?
    Your Birch is gorgeous!!! I’ve only done 5 repeats on my Birch & am loving it.
    Could you tell me how you blocked your Birch?

  40. Fabulous shawl!
    Jelly here in the UK means the Jello type stuff more often than the Real Thing made with fruit – the lime one is definitely about that colour…

  41. Stephanie, your Birch shawl is gorgeous! So gorgeous, in fact, that I couldn’t resist – it’s going to be my summer knitting! My Kidsilk Haze is in the Candy Girl color, and I’m trying to keep myself from casting on now!
    BTW, I have to tell you how much I enjoyed your book. Hope there are more to come!

  42. No wonder there was no blog on Friday. When I grow up I want to knit lace shaws just like you. Guess I had better hurry since I probably have fifteen to twenty years on you. Still up to nothing but socks (lacey pattern though) here in Pickerington.


  44. Just planted a birch outside our home…sounds like kismet. 299 stitches? yowza……if mine would look like yours, it would be worth it….stunning, Steph…….

  45. um, apple mint jelly? forgive me for that culinary faux pas, lol. tis truly delish. i may have to get on the birch bandwagon for that. where did you get the pattern? i’ve got a ton of mohair sitting in my stash unused because i havne’t had the moxie to come up with something to make it with.

  46. Purty. I really have to learn to like mohair but even writing the words make me shudder. I dislike fuzz.
    But Birch is so purty.

  47. Simply lovely! So, how many times did it take you to get that cast on to be 299 stitches? Just curious 🙂

  48. Oh! That is sooooo beautiful! I love it! That color is amazing as well… I am now contemplating making that because of you 🙂

  49. Another triumph! Just a fabulous job, Stephanie.
    In terms of jelly, rhubarb jam will be that nice shade of green, as will green tomato mincemeat.

  50. Beautiful! The weird thing about birch though is how it totally doesn’t look like anything on a birch tree. Birch leaves don’t look like that.

  51. Aha! I have found my self-bribe. When I finish my summer class, I can get what I need for Birch.

  52. For the first time in a long time, I’m REALLY SERIOUSLY bummed that mohair and I get along so poorly.
    I WANT to knit this. I wonder, after the itching and sneezing and eye rinning through the knittin gprocess… would a layer of clothing protct me from it enough to wear a birch?
    Is there any othe ryarn that will make it as gorgeous….
    lusting after Birch

  53. Wow your birch shawl is divine. I don’t think I would have the patience to knit this. Kiri maybe but not this one.

  54. When I knit my Birch (still need to block the thing), I cast on the 299 stitches while fairly tipsy. Some might say drunk. It worked remarkably well. Perhaps the use of stitch markers also helped. But I love my birch.

  55. Birch is posed quite nicely in the exact spot where I posed on my wedding day. 🙂 A happy reminder.

  56. Stephanie
    I am a jeans and sweater kind of girl–I have never worn a shawl and will look seriously stupid in a shawl but Birch is so beautiful that I just ordered 3 skeins of the kidsilk haze (in Liqeur) and Rowan 34 and I am on the path to my very own Birch.

  57. My dad made some kiwi jelly once that was that same shade of green. Absolutely gorgeous. Makes me want to cast on right this minute!

  58. There is an English lime marmalade I try to find as it is the best preserve to me…it is that color, but not jelly. A friend from England introduced me to it…perhaps the reference it to an English jelly we are not as familiar with in North America?

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