From the Kansas City Airport

(Where I simply cannot recommend Cinnabon’s coffee.) My plane – the third in 24 hours, to be immediately followed by the fourth, is leaving really soon, but there’s free wifi here, so I thought I’d take a run at reporting on last night. I’m going straight from the airport in NYC to the Brooklyn Barnes and Noble where I’m speaking tonight, unless there’s time to pop in at the hotel – so I feel like I should make hay while the sun shines. I have 26 minutes.

This tour doesn’t have a lot of time for absorbing and reflecting all of the places I’m going. Some times people say that they think it might be fun to be on a book tour and see all these places, and for sure, some parts are totally fun, but the thing that it is least of all, is a visit with the city I’m going to. I see the airport. A cab. A hotel and a book/yarn store – and then I’m onto the next one. I can tell you that there is a river in Kansas City. I can tell you it’s beautiful. There are indeed, cows near the airport, as promised – and no tornados, as Sam feared. (I was a little nervous too, but it turns out that the tornadoes are mostly in the spring. It was a little windy. I asked. ) Beyond that – all I saw was the bookstore owners (Roger and Vivien – who are lovely, well organized souls) and the knitters.



(Note here. Now I’m on a plane, (where I also can’t recommend United’s coffee) I totally ran out of time, so I’m now writing from very high up – somewhere between Kansas City and Chicago. Does Chicago have free wifi?)

There were charming young knitters, like Amy (6) and Kathryn (seen here with her mum Carissa and her little brother Ryan, exhausted from his good behaviour) and there was Liz, celebrating her 13th Birthday.


Cheryl brought a fantastic washcloth. (Wait until you see what I do with all of these.)


There were first sock knitters… like Karen and Hattie Lynn, who actually showed up with one first sock and photographic proof that at one time there was a second first sock, except that she showed the gory evidence that her dog had eaten its mate. Horrific thing to see. Shivers down my spine. The total reason I have a cat. Next is Melissa, Shari, Nicole and finally Emily – all forming a fine first sock brigade indeed.



( 12: 40 – Now I’m in Chicago, but there isn’t free wifi, and I’m not buying it for the 10 minutes I have here. I’m boarding for NYC in a couple of minutes. Maybe I’ll make it to the hotel before the event to post. No time for coffee.)

(2:04 – or maybe 3:04. When does a time change start if you’re flying? Back up in the air, eating chex mix (which I think is one of the best things about the USA) and an apple, which is what is serving as lunch today, and were the only two things I had time to buy in Chicago. Breakfast was the aforementioned Cinnabon coffee and half of what was pretending to be a cinnamon bun, but in reality was a diabetic coma in baked form. It was the only vegetarian thing to eat on the security side of the Kansas City Airport. Nutrition is a pretty big problem on the road. )

I want you to meet three other knitters. This one is knitting his own kilt hose, which is the only responsible thing to do, since he’s a big enough knitter that he shouldn’t ask it of another…


This knitter brought pictures of her very own hand knit (by her) wedding dress – so beautiful you could cry over it. The skirt was so full that I bet the cast off took DAYS. Mind bending, traumatic, I can’t believe I’m doing this sort of days. Looks totally worth it.


This knitter brought me a wee wool pig (currently in the belly of the airplane – I have been hoping all day that my bag got searched and someone wondered what he was doing perched on the top of my belongings. )


Some knitters brought me babies, though I didn’t get to keep them… There’s Emily and Evelyn, and Rebekah and Samantha


Then the last knitters trickled off into the night….


I signed more books for mail order and other mysterious bookstore reasons, and I drifted off, back to the hotel and into my bed for the night. I managed to knit about 3 rows on my new project before I was entirely unconscious, and it occurred to me as I wrote that I haven’t shown you what I started for this round of plane knitting. I know I said it would be lace, and it sort of is..

It’s a skirt that I’ve been enchanted with for a while. It’s designed by Ruth Sørensen, and I bought the yarn at Madrona last year after seeing an example of it in Ruth’s class. (If you click this link, I’ve got a picture of it in a couple of samples in that entry.) Her example was knit of Evilla, a yarn with even longer repeats than Kauni, which is what I’m using, so I’m messing with things a little bit to make sure that I get only one repeat of the run all the way through the skirt. If things go well, it will be black near the waist, graduations of grey through the skirt, fading to palest grey at the hem.


I want equal proportions of each – more or less, but the skirt gets wider as it gets longer. Therefore, I’ve gutted and gored several balls of Kauni, dividing them each into one run of the repeat. At the beginning I used three balls, knitting one round from each of them in turn to extend the repeat. Now I’m at the grey, and I’m using four balls.


I imagine that as I get down towards the palest part things shall become very complex indeed, but I’m trying not to worry about it just yet. I’m just knitting and drinking bad airline coffee until I get to Brooklyn.

(PS. Happy election day to Canadians – I know we’re all thrilled that today concludes the six weeks of campaigning and releases us from any more conversations about bad sweaters, earnest moustaches and which national language you’re telling the truth in. Don’t forget to go vote. I did the advance poll thing – I’ve been counted. Remember that all you need to vote, even if you didn’t get your voter card (or you lost it – or you just decided today that you really do care who runs this country) is to turn up at your local polling station with something that proves your address (like a bill) and your identification. Takes two minutes and gives you the right to complain about politicians until the next go ’round – and considering our current crop… you wouldn’t want to be left out of that… would you?)

(PPS, if anybody at tonight’s talk is the sort who would know, I would love an election update from home.)

(PPPS – posted from the hotel – where I just have time to make this go before I do.)

Happy Thanksgiving

Radio silence again, sorry about that. I actually did mean to be blogging at SOAR, but I couldn’t connect to the internet there. Everyone (almost) around me could, and my laptop rudely refused to make an effort, and there’s no arguing with technology. There were times that it seemed like it was a blessing, since the class schedule (and social schedule) of the retreat moves at breakneck speed. I leaned all sorts of new things, I bought a very few lovely items, I enjoyed the company of seldom seen friends, and when it was all over, Rachel H, Denny and I drove back to Canada in time for my Thanksgiving dinner with my family, one load of laundry, five hours of sleep, one cup of coffee (that I’m drinking now) and I’m off again. Cab to the airport in 10 minutes. You can click here for my schedule for the rest of the week, and I’ll blog later from somewhere else.


(PS. Have you seen my brown shoes?….. I could have sworn I put them by the door…)

Dropping in

That’s all I’m doing here at home. Dropping in. I came home from Seattle yesterday and I’m leaving for SOAR tomorrow (morning, unspeakably early) and I rushed in, washed my clothes, visited with the family, voted (I’m going to be away for the election) baked them some banana bread (which was really more of a defensive move – the bananas were going to be a whole other organism tomorrow if I didn’t do something) and dropped in at knit night.

I’m not even really sure where I lost a couple of days there, but it’s Wednesday night, sure enough, and the last thing I really remember clearly was getting up at 4:45AM on Tuesday and heading for the airport. I remember there was a pretty good bagel, and a flight delay, and a whole lot of coffee… and I remember that I got home at dinnertime (time changes are rough) and then everything since then seems like a weird dream on fast forward – until I sat down now to tell you about Seattle, and about how much fun it was. I’ve been to Third Place Books a few times now, enough that I can start feeling a little bit comfortable. I know where the bathroom is, I know that their coffee is pretty good.. I know tons about it – but I never know who’s going to turn up.. and it’s always crazy fun to meet the Seattle knitters…First en mass:



And then one (or two) by each. We had our knitters with sidecar humans, like Denise and tiny Isabelle (we didn’t wake her), Jennifer and Sarah, Stephanie and Eviebelle, and Sarah and Jack. (I love Jacks serious little face, and see that? He’s wearing a sweater I knit! I made if for his brother a few years ago, and there it is again. Lovely. )


I saw the most charming little knitters. Hold your breath knitters, and then give me a collective “Awwwww”


for Haileigh and her sharebear. That’s Haileigh’s knitting too, since she is a most competent and quick knitter – especially for a girl of only 5. Haileigh can hope, when she is a bigger knitter, to turn out as well as Sabrina (or was it Tracy? I think that was your mum) who’s 7, Katrina who’s 10 and Rita – who’s 12.


If those knitters play it right, they can hope to be as clever as McKenna, our lady of the stash weasels – accompanied by her sister Madison for the first time.


As always, there was the first sock brigade, this time just Laurie and Lauren, which makes me wonder if all the knitters in Seattle know socks now.


Lauren has, you will note, presented her first socks in 2-D form… since she was unable to get them off the feet of the recipient, which is a pretty awesome testimonial for a pair of first socks.


Finally, there was my good buddy Paul, who turns up, as perennial as the grass, and always a pleasure. There were a ton of other folks, like Syne especially, who gave me one of her Sci-Fi books, thus preserving Seattle’s place in my heart as geeky knitter central.

Seattle… it’s always awesome.

I’ve got to go to bed. Tomorrow… I spin.

Green in winter

So I never did find my copy of my book before I had to leave, and in the end I panicked and went to my local bookstore – fingers crossed that it would be there. My mother in law and I went straight to the knitting section and I held my breath, because I really had no plan for what I would do if it wasn’t there.


But it was. (For the record, should you ever write a book, I thoroughly recommend going to the bookstore to see it with someone who loves you. Carol made me feel like this book was the most incredible achievement in the world. You would think it was winning the Nobel Prize.) It’s funny seeing it there, looking all proper and book like. I bought one (which is a really bizarre experience), Carol bought one (which is also very weird) and I left for the San Francisco airport and then a drive to the pretty place of Santa Rosa… although things there are totally weird.

The nice lady who drove me around, when I commented that everything was sort of “brown” – said “Oh, yeah, everything gets brown in the summer. It’ll be much greener in the winter.”

I spent 10 minutes trying to wrap my little Canadian head around the idea of things getting green in the winter. What a statement. Behold. The thing that is the same everywhere. Knitters.





Then there was Kelly and Roko and Justin and Susan. (I love the babies. Look at those smiles.)

(As always, click to embiggen.)


There were young knitters, meet Melody, Amelia (she’s only 7) and her brother Andrew (who is only three and would knit if he could). Melody’s mum also gave me some info about The Fleecy Fun Fiber Foray (Sunday, October 11th, 10-3 at the Sonoma Community Center. (When you go, ask them about the Redwood Empire Handweavers and Spinners Guild too.)


There were washcloths from Kat and Darcy, Christina and Lorraine….


and the first sock brigade… Ashley (who thought that was the real size of baby feet. Can all the mothers give me a big “I WISH”), Carol, Kendra and Petala, representing for the men. (Was that your first sock Petala? Can’t recall.) Karen with her daughter Andreas socks…


There was Kara, with socks that knocked me out of mine.



Just about quit knitting when I saw those. Very clever knitter. Another clever knitter – and friend to many, far and wide….


It’s Alison, author of Wrapped in Comfort and giving knitter extraordinaire.

Speaking of clever… if you don’t know her already, this is Romi (aka Rosemary Hill.)


She has a pretty pattern in Knitty right now, the Waves of Grain scarf, (which would be an excellent project to learn beading on) and a book coming, and she showed up covered in the coolest stuff. She always is. Check out her necklace up close…


and how about her earrings!


You know.. I think it’s the diversity of knitterly brilliance that stuns me the most. Every time you think you’ve seen the coolest thing that knitting has to offer… somebody shows up with those socks or that book or that jewellery. Knitters are the smartest people I know, and I know some smart people.

Looking forward to more brilliance (or maybe just some sci-fi geek knitters, the place is filthy with them) in Seattle tonight at Third Place Books. (Free event, no tickets.)

PS. I forgot to mention it before, but if you’re coming to one of these events, (or one of Ann and Kay’s – or anybody else) I would love it if you considered buying your book there. It’s a nice payback for the store, and it keeps the knitting events coming and reinforces that knitters are a market share that’s worth investing in. It’s a win/win.

Hey Hugo hold a sock

So – You know what would be fun?

(That’s Stephanie for “take cover”) I have been just obsessed with the picture that Tracy got, the one of Barack Obama holding a sock in progress – and yesterday, the look on Greg Kinnears face when Carol handed him her sock for a picture, reminded me that I’ve been planning this post for a while.

Take a minute and go look at Tracy’s picture. I’m not sure why this moved me so much, but I just can’t stop thinking about it. Perhaps its because I think that politics sometimes does more harm that good in the world,or perhaps it is that the image of a person out to promote their own purposes being asked to momentarily have to serve ours – frankly, just charming. Perhaps it is simply the juxtaposition of a candidate for Head of State holding a sock is just so wholesome, that I am amused to no end. Perhaps it is simply that there is a part of me that really enjoys seeing powerful people befuddled and confused by a handknit ….Whatever it is, In the spirit of what all of that means to me, I have a challenge that I hope you guys will take me up on.

Every time someone gets a World Leader, a Head of State, Royalty or a Candidate for any of those positions to hold a sock in progress….I will make a donation to MSF, and record it with KWB (I won’t send myself an email though, because I will know.) I am hoping that other knitters/people will want to make donations too… and that they will send me an email so I can keep the tally. I’d love to see a million dollars in the sidebar, but I think that might be an idea that’s made of crazy-dust.

Rules? You betcha.

1. No minor politicians. No Governors, no Mayors, no City Councillors. (The occasional exception will be made for other really cool people or celebrities. For example, I made a donation yesterday because Carol got the Greg Kinnear thing, and she (and Greg) are made of awesome in sixteen ways. Did you see Greg on Conan talking about how now he kinnears people? Crazy.)

2. The politicians and royalty of any country in the world are eligible.

3. No lawbreaking. There is no bail fund to get a knitter who snuck into Buckingham Palace out of the clink. Be careful and do not frighten, startle or alarm the powerful. Do not rush at them with pointy sticks, do not attempt to breach security in any way. Be aware that there are people in the world who would like to hurt these people, and that it is very important that you are not confused with those people…even for a moment.

4. Photographic proof must be provided.

5. The sock must be on the needles.

6. The sock must be offered to the powerful person in question by a knitter. (This means that if your cousin is an aid to Raul Castro, he can’t take the sock for you – unless he is a knitter, in which case I’m really looking forward to the photo.)

7. You can’t explain. All the knitter can say is something like “Excuse me…would you please hold this sock for a picture?” Do not reveal to the politician that it might have anything to do with charity. Some of these people are campaigning, and we are attempting to reveal their true sock feelings, not their feelings about winning. Besides, it’s funnier my way.

8. By “Candidates” I mean anyone officially in the running for the position of President, Prime Minister, Head of a National Party, Queen, King, Crown Prince or Princess, Emir, Emperor or Empress, Sultan, Pharaoh…. or stands to inherit such a title through a line of succession (like Prince Charles) is eligible for the sock stalking.

9. Multiple sock encounters are permissible, and yay, even desirable. If someone else (or 20 other people) all get Barack Obama to hold a sock, game on.

10. This rollicking game of “hold a sock” shall be played without political agenda. Should a knitter succeed in getting a powerful person to hold a sock, this action shall not be considered a political endorsement of the powerful persons candidacy….or a statement of the knitters position on the issues. This means that if I were to manage to get a sock to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, I should not be considered a conservative….just really good at this game.

Double points if:

1. A politician publicly says “Is it just me….or am I seeing a lot of socks?”

2. A politician actually knits on the sock.

3. A politician makes mention of the sock action in an interview.

This game is only intended to, for very brief moments in time, warp the purpose of the politicians actions for our own means. For the 5 seconds that they hold the sock…their actions serve our purposes, and that just can’t be bad. I can’t force all of the powerful people in the world to care about the things that I do…but if, while they are out in the world, convincing people of their positions and raising funds for their own purposes, they hold a sock for a minute, maybe all of the good, quiet, thoughtful intention present in knitting will transfer to them…just for a second, and maybe they will think about that, and while they do, we will have turned that 5 seconds into a tiny little fundraiser that suits our purposes. It’s almost poetic.

Anybody in?

As always, if any member of our team is caught or killed, The Blog will disavow all knowledge of their actions. This message will self-destruct in five seconds.

it is too a real word

Many, many moons ago (like, last August – which I know isn’t really that long ago, but this is the internet, so it’s practically forever) I was knitting my way around North America and I was in the Toronto Airport, headed to Boston, and I saw Greg Kinnear. You can read about it here, but essentially, I didn’t have the nerve to ask him to hold a sock – or I sort of did, because I am not ashamed of the sock, but it seemed to me that he had the air about him of a guy who was just trying to get on a plane without holding a sock that day, so I took a picture without him knowing.

I wrote that blog post calling secret pictures Kinnearing, because I thought it was pretty funny, and pretty soon there were other people who thought it was funny too, and I could believe the whole thing when it was just knitters and friends of the knit who were doing it, but when it turned up in the Urban Dictionary I started to think it had probably left my control. I knew it had when The New York Times made it official. (Two things about that? 1. Inventing a word is not what I thought I would be in the New York Times for. I don’t know what I thought I would be in there for, but I was pretty sure that the article would include words I didn’t coin, like “allegedly” and “unbelievably” and “repeatedly”. 2. Did you know that if your name is ever in an article in the New York Times, then when you die they publish your obituary? Who knew.)

I’ve always wondered what Greg Kinnear thought of that. I mean, did one of his friends phone him after the NYT thing and say “Dude! Yer a VERB”, or did someone he know knit, so he found out right away? I mean, if there’s only 6 degrees of separation between any two people, then it didn’t really seem so crazy that he might have known… and I wondered. (Essentially I wondered if I needed to avoid Greg Kinnear for the rest of my life because it turned out that he was born without a sense of humour or something, which didn’t seem like it was going to be very hard, since we don’t exactly travel in the same circles and I wasn’t exactly going to have to start skipping parties to avoid Greg Kinnear.) I wondered and wondered (but I didn’t get a restraining order or anything) and I was wondering… until today.

Enter Carol, a knitter strategically embedded with the media. Earlier today, Carol saw an incredible opportunity, and she went for it.


Oh yeah. Guess who. Need another one?


Whammo. Look at that. Supreme Kinnearing, but then our intreipid knitter totally went nuts and hauled off piled a sock picture on top of the kinnearing.


Yup. She handed her socks in progress to Greg Kinnear and Harry Smith. (I love that they both look a little concerned and confused.) Harry recovered first…


Then Greg.


How much do you love that expression? It’s mostly “wow some days is it ever weird to be me” with a little “I think I sort of like this sock” on the side. I think he’s game. Carol said he was actually a brilliant sport about it – very funny and charming, which I’m delighted to hear, since I think you can tell a whole lot about a person from their reaction to a half knit sock. (A refusal to hold a sock is to me, a very poor sign.) This last picture though, this last picture is all this circle needed to complete itself. This last picture is proof that occasionally the wheel of life turns just the way you would have it do…


because my friends.. that picture? That picture is GREG KINNEAR TRYING (and sort of sucking at it, which only makes it even better) TO KINNEAR HIMSELF.

Man. That’s beautiful.

Carol? Ya done good.

PS. I am in California. I’ll see you tomorrow (if you’re in California too) for sock pictures at Copperfields in Santa Rosa at 3:00pm.

Hey, you in the sweater

I shouldn’t even be writing this.

I should be doing laundry so that I have clean clothes to take to Santa Rosa and Seattle. I should be folding those clothes and putting them in my suitcase. I should be organizing my knitting so that I have enough with me to keep me occupied on the long flights (Ok. I may have spent a while today stash diving on that cause’s behalf.) I should be telling you about a new idea I have for a fundraiser for MSF. I should be doing more of the work for The Sock Summit. I should be answering email. (Seriously. It’s tragic in there.) I should write a little bit of a speech for when I get to Santa Rosa and Seattle (although thank heaven, I’ve finally written a book that can be read at a book reading, which should help a lot.) I should totally go to the grocery store and try and put some food in the fridge so that Joe doesn’t have to solo parent and come up with groceries. (It is a feather in his cap that the last time I went away, they didn’t order pizza even once.) I should make dinner. (Or maybe I can order pizza if he’s over it.) I should clear up the kitchen, so I can expect a clean kitchen when I come back. I should really, really find my one copy of the new book (I know it is here somewhere how do you misplace a thing like that) so that I can read from it at the readings, although wouldn’t it be funny if I can’t find it and have to buy one? Hilarious.

I should be getting all of this done, plus egging the girls onto their homework, plus putting my itinerary and my passport and all of my stuff in my carry on. I should be making a sandwich to take on the plane too… wait. Curses. I’ll have to do that after the groceries. I should wash a load of towels because I’ve been putting off taking a bath because we’re out of towels and getting into the bath without a plan for getting out seems like poor planning. I should put away all of the stitch dictionaries I took out today while I was obsessed with scarf ideas. (Yeah. I would have fewer “I should” items if I could have said no to myself earlier.) In short… I shouldn’t be writing this. I especially shouldn’t be taking the time to edit these photos and put them up, but after Joe and I did the photoshoot I was just so pleased that I can’t wait to show you.


It’s Hey Teach! (Finally.) I decided to knit this because I’ve been wanting for a while to have some knitted stuff that could also be professional stuff. Knitted stuff that I could wear to work without compromising professionalism, but still be really knitterly. (I have found that this is a fine line to walk with shawls, some pullovers and definitely mittens.) I want to wear my knitting to work events (especially since my work stuff often has something to do with knitting) but my work stuff also usually has some non-knitters around (bookstore owners, publishers) and I try (and usually fail) not to look too much like “that strange writer who always wears too much knitted stuff”.

I think this works. I think it looks professional (if a little casual, but it’s not like I’m a CEO or anything) and sort of chic, which is cool, because if I ever look professional or chic its usually by accident, and owning this up’s my odds. (My mum says that this could be helped by lipstick, but darn… that seems like an extreme step.)


I think I could wear it just about anywhere – anytime. I have already worn it to the kitchen and the bathroom, to rave reviews. (Ok. The cat looked impressed.) The buttons are indeed souvenirs of my trip to London, a charming gift from a knitter there (thank you!) and I love them too.



Pattern: Hey Teach, written by Hélène Rush. Yarn, Misti Cotton (83% Pima Cotton/17% Silk) Colour 7032 “Olive Khaki”. 4mm needles. (I often need to go down a size or two (or three) when I work with non-elastic fibres. They make me loose.) Needle gauge necklace that I adore (someone will ask) from Abundant Yarn and Dyeworks. (I love that necklace for the same reason I love this sweater. Knitterly, but not overtly so. Like a little inside knit joke or a secret password.)

Modifications? Yup. I lengthened the distance between the ribbing and the underarm and added a little more length to the distance between the neck scoop and the shoulder. After knitting the pattern as written I found that I needed a little more room to accommodate my front assets. (I have no idea how I could have had them for so long, and still underestimate their precise size and location this frequently.) In addition, I made the sleeves a smidge longer, and shortened the body to reflect my height. (I’m short.) Finally, I only put in three buttonholes in the top section. I knew that I would never, ever do up the ones on the bottom, so I didn’t knit ’em. Even with the rip and redo, this was still an astonishingly quick knit… if you don’t count the weeks and weeks it took me to sew on three buttons. (Sigh.) I’m thinking about knitting a second one with long sleeves, since I’m pretty sure that this one is going to look seriously dorky with a long sleeve shirt under, and the Canadian winter is bearing down on me.


It would look dorky… wouldn’t it? Can I get a ruling here? (I’d ask one of my teenagers, but they think I’m dorky no matter what I wear.)

PS. Yeah. I’m wearing pretty much what the model for the pattern is wearing. I know it shows a lack of imagination, but she looks so good.

PSS. MommyknitsJen (Thanks Jen!) pointed out yesterday in the comments that I’ve been nominated for the Bloggers Choice Awards – in the categories of Best blog design, Best blog of all time and the only category I think I have a shot in (thinking I should win those first two is crazier than shaving hamsters for circus work) Best Hobby Blog. I’d love to have your vote, should you feel I deserve it. If you think I don’t, there’s still time (I think) to nominate your actual favourite. Party on dudes.

PPPS. I know. I’ve knit two things I adore and publicly said I think they are both perfect. I’m due for a smiting.

Proud as a Peacock

(It had to be said.) Yesterday Peacock Feathers got a tepid soak, and then the festival of pins started. The shawl fit, if I put the long top edge diagonally, onto our queen-sized bed. (I did start early in the day so as to not have a damp bed on the evening of my anniversary. I thought that just wouldn’t say “I love you” quite the way I wanted to.)


Big shawl. Blocking wires (I use and like Handworks Dressing Wires) went along the top to get a nice straight edge, and I had to use four of them to manage. I pinned out each scallop and crochet chain loop individually. I did try just putting more wires through the loops to avoid the pinning, but it didn’t give me the beautiful deep scallops I was looking for, and besides, once you’re in this deep with a project it just didn’t seem right to skimp on the finishing. (That lesson, not to cop out at the end, is one that improved my knitting a lot once I learned it, which was embarrassingly late into my knitting career, but there you go.) I didn’t block it severely, just as little as I could to show off the pattern.


Pin-o-rama. Pinfest. Pinoptic. Passels of Pins. Profuse Piles of Pins. Pins-o-Plenty.

The shawl reposed there, pinned to our duvet until it was dry – or more properly that it lay there until we went upstairs at bedtime after drinking a bottle of anniversary champagne and I was all “Oh, hold on. Let me just entirely kill the mood by removing 200 pins from our marital bed. One moment.” (To his credit, Joe laughed.)


I loved knitting this shawl. To be sure, it’s a big one, coming in at just about the size that the pattern predicted. (Good call on my part with the gentle blocking.)


Pretty, pretty, pretty.

On the Fiddlesticks website, Dorothy says that this shawl is recommended for “experienced intermediate knitters” and I’d agree with her. The Fiddlesticks charts remain the best in the business, and her instructions are very clear and concise, and if you’re looking to move up to a big piece of lace after working some simple things, this would be a good place to start. Challenging, but good.


That said, if you’re just starting with lace, unless your the sort who doesn’t mind a challenge and learns quickly, you’re probably going to find a couple of things difficult. Firstly, there’s a lot of charts. They’re good charts, and easy to read, but you’re going to need to read them. This pattern doesn’t have an easily memorized pattern (mostly because you’re knitting a picture), and even if you do get the hang, once you do, you’re off to a new chart.

A secondary challenge is presented by the charts themselves. Only the chart to the centre point is given. When you reach the centre, after reading the chart row right to left, you then work the charts reading left to right, reversing the decreases. I don’t find this difficult at all, not even a little, but everybody has a different sort of brain. (I think you could get around that really easily by scanning and reversing the charts, and taping the two sides together, if you had a brain that resisted the effort.)


Besides that, the only challenge is that this is a big and fiddly project, which only makes me adore it more, since it only gives you a better lace high when you’re done.


Absolutely worth every single moment. (Even the cast off – since, wow. It’s perfect.)


Pattern: The Peacock Feathers Shawl, from Fiddlesticks Knitting. Yarn: 50/50 wool/silk from Perchance to knit, in the Midnight Rainbow/Harlot’s Peacock colourway. It took 108g of yarn – or just less than 4oz. Knit on a 3.5mm needle, showed off in my Mother-in-law’s beautiful back garden.